Surplus to hit record: Ifo
The nation’s current account surplus is expected to have hit a new record of US$297 billion last year, overtaking that of China again to become the world’s largest, the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research said on Monday. That would be equivalent to 8.6 percent of total output, which means it would once again breach the European Commission’s recommended upper threshold of 6 percent. In 2015, the current account surplus stood at US$271 billion. The institute estimated China’s current account surplus last year totaled US$245 billion due to weaker exports. By contrast, the US is predicted to have the world’s largest capital imports, with a deficit of US$478 billion last year, the institute said. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday last week said that the country’s current account surplus is likely to shrink this year, because a slowdown in global trade is dampening export growth while strong domestic demand is pushing up imports.
Sony to take write-down
Sony Corp on Monday said that it would take a ￥112 billion (US$983.3 million) write-down in its movie business after reviewing the future profitability of operations. The company said it would book the charge in the fiscal third quarter and is examining how the charge will affect its forecasts. Sony said it would sell shares in the medical Web service M3 Inc to Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s Japan unit to offset part of the loss. The announcement came two weeks after the firm said that Sony Entertainment Inc CEO Michael Lynton would step down after a 13-year run. Sony warned in June last year that the division was at a risk of posting more losses. “The decline in the DVD and Blu-ray market was faster than we anticipated,” Sony spokesman Takashi Iida said by telephone.
Economy continues to grow
The economy last year grew 3.2 percent, according to preliminary figures released by the National Institute of Statistics on Monday, consolidating three consecutive years of strong growth and in line with the government’s expectations. Final figures are expected to be published early next month. The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has put economic growth and boosting jobs at the center of its policies. It has pledged to recover the losses of the brutal financial meltdown and return this year to pre-crisis GDP levels. The institute said that GDP grew by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the same as in the period from July to September, but slightly down from the first half of the year, when the economy grew 0.8 percent each quarter.
Misys ready to go public
Misys Group Ltd is keen for the company to return to the public market, after the London-based provider of banking software was taken private in 2012 by Vista Equity Partners in a US$1.3 billion deal, CEO Nadeem Syed said in an interview on Monday. Syed declined to comment on potential timing. He said the company is targeting a host of new products, such as machine learning and peer-to-peer lending, a step away from the somewhat dry world of banking software for treasury and capital markets transactions. Misys is also branching out into machine learning, with a new offering, targeted for release in the next few months, aiming to help detect anomalies in trading patterns that will trigger alerts, he said.
THSRC hits rider record
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) yesterday reported that it carried 252,250 passengers on Monday, the third day of the Lunar New Year, its highest-ever number of riders in a single day. The number broke the record of 250,423 passengers on June 12 last year, the last day of the four-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, according to the company. THSRC said it carried 1.27 million passengers from Wednesday last week through Monday.
Aramex mulls UK downsize
Aramex PJSC, the Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based courier and logistics company, is considering minimizing its operations in the UK and serving Europe through the Netherlands or France if Brexit agreements do not favor free-trade flows, Aramex CEO Hussein Hachem said. “It depends on what kind of agreement the UK government would be able to reach with the EU,” Hachem said on Monday in an interview in Dubai. Aramex has about 200 employees in the UK. The company expects to make “a series of acquisitions” in e-commerce in Latin America next year in response to customer demand, Hachem said.
Shell to sell Thai gas field
Royal Dutch Shell PLC is to sell its stake in an offshore Thai gas field to a unit of Kuwait Petroleum Corp for US$900 million as the international energy giant continues hawking assets for cash in the midst of a years-long energy slump. Shell reached an agreement to sell two subsidiaries that own a combined 22.2 percent interest in the Bongkot field and adjoining offshore acreage to a subsidiary of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co, the unit known as Kufpec, Shell said in a statement yesterday. To win shareholder support for that deal, Shell has promised cost savings of US$2.5 billion, asset disposals of at least US$30 billion within four years and a share buyback of US$25 billion from this year through 2020. The field’s other owners are Total SA, with a 33.3 percent stake, and PTT Exploration & Production PCL, which has 44.4 percent share and operates the field.
India to grow 6.75% to 7.5%
India’s economy is expected to grow by between 6.75 and 7.5 percent in the coming fiscal year, the Indian Ministry of Finance said yesterday in its pre-budget Economic Survey. Asia’s third-largest economy should steady after a hit from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November last year decision to scrap most cash in circulation in a strike against “black money.” “Economic growth is expected to return to normal as new currency notes in required quantities come back into circulation,” the ministry of finance said.
Lukoil eyes Iran oil fields
Lukoil PJSC is seeking opportunities for growth in the Middle East as Iran opens more of its oil fields to international partners, the Russian energy company’s regional head said. The Moscow-based company plans to add output from the region to existing operations in Iraq and Egypt, as long as it finds projects with production costs as low as those in Russia, Lukoil head of upstream for the Middle East Gati al-Jebouri told reporters in Dubai on Monday. Lukoil is in talks with state-run National Iranian Oil Co about the Ab Teymour and Mansouri oil fields in western Iran, al-Jebouri said.
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US