Tesla China plant nears
Tesla Inc is close to an agreement to produce vehicles in China for the first time, giving the electric-car maker better access to the world’s largest auto market, people familiar with the matter said. The agreement with the city of Shanghai would allow Tesla to build facilities in its Lingang development zone and could come as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Tesla would need to set up a joint venture with at least one local partner under existing rules and it was not immediately clear who that would be. Setting up local production is key for chief executive officer Elon Musk to continue growing in China, where Tesla’s revenue tripled to more than US$1 billion last year. Assembling vehicles locally would allow the company to avoid a 25 percent tax that renders Model S sedans and Model X sport utility vehicles more expensive than in the US.
Hutchison chief to retire
Billionaire Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠) has told associates that he plans to retire by next year as chairman of his flagship CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd (長和集團), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Li has not specified a date, but is likely to step down by his 90th birthday in July next year, the newspaper reported. The tycoon plans to remain as senior adviser and keep his office atop CK Hutchison’s headquarters building in downtown Hong Kong, the report said.
Libya boosting output
Libya is pumping the most oil in four years after a deal with Wintershall AG enabled at least two fields to resume production, adding to the challenge that OPEC and allied producers face in trying to pare global crude inventories. The North African nation is producing about 900,000 barrels a day, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to the media. Output has risen on the resumption of fields developed with Wintershall and from a boost at Sharara, Libya’s biggest deposit, which is pumping 270,000 barrels a day, the person said on Monday.
Chipotle expenses rising
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc told investors that it is spending more on marketing and promotions as it tries to bounce back from a food-safety crisis. The burrito chain expects the expenses to rise by as much as 0.3 percentage point from the previous three months, according to a filing on Monday. The Denver-based company does not anticipate that food costs will change, accounting for about 34 percent of sales. The outlook sent Chipotle shares down as much as 3 percent to US$445 in extended trading. They had been up 22 percent this year through Monday’s close, lifted by optimism that the firm could execute a comeback. For the full year, Chipotle reiterated a forecast for same-store sales in the high single digits. It expects to open as many as 210 new restaurants.
Natural gas futures drop
US natural gas futures slid the most in four months on forecasts of milder weather that would curtail demand for the power-plant fuel after a hot spell last week. Temperatures may be mostly below normal in the central US and average on the east and gulf coasts from Saturday to Wednesday next week, the Commodity Weather Group LLC said.
From India to China to the US, automakers cannot make vehicles — not that no one wants any, but because a more than US$450 billion industry for semiconductors got blindsided. How did both sides end up here? Over the past two weeks, automakers across the world have bemoaned the shortage of chips. Germany’s Audi, owned by Volkswagen AG, would delay making some of its high-end vehicles because of what chief executive officer Markus Duesmann called a “massive” shortfall in an interview with the Financial Times. The firm has furloughed more than 10,000 workers and reined in production. That is a further blow
Answering to a reported request by Germany to help address a chip shortage in its auto industry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that it was in talks with domestic chip suppliers. Foreign media over the weekend reported that German Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier had sent a request to Taipei to ask Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to cooperate more closely with German automakers to provide microchips and sensors, to bridge a shortage that has emerged over the past few months. The MOEA said that it had not yet received the request and could therefore not elaborate
FOCUS ON FOUNDRIES: An analyst said that some investors would be disappointed because they were expecting a larger announcement of a partnership with TSMC Intel Corp’s incoming chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger on Thursday pledged to regain the company’s lead in chip manufacturing, countering growing calls from some investors to shed that part of its business. “I am confident that the majority of our 2023 products will be manufactured internally,” Gelsinger said. “At the same time, given the breadth of our portfolio, it’s likely that we will expand our use of external foundries for certain technologies and products.” He plans to provide more details after officially taking over the CEO role on Feb. 15, but Gelsinger was clear that Intel is sticking with its once mighty
AWARENESS NEEDED: The central bank urged lenders to know their customers before undertaking business for them and to seek funding in conventional ways The central bank yesterday said that it would take action against four foreign lenders for their involvement in helping companies trade in the deliverable forward market in contravention of foreign-exchange regulations. Some grain merchants newly based in Taiwan have since July 2019 been practicing questionable currency-trading activity, with the help of branches and subsidiaries of six foreign banks, the monetary policymaker told an unscheduled news conference. Affiliated firms as of July last year completed currency-related deals they referred to as trading that totaled US$11 billion, which was not in sync with their real business needs, the central bank said after wrapping up