Interest rates cut again
The central bank on Wednesday slashed interest rates to a record low for the second time in less than two months, as Latin America’s biggest economy struggles to grow. The bank cut its main rate from the previous historic low of 6 percent to 5.5 percent, citing risks of a “more intense slowdown in the global economy.” The nation avoided slipping back into recession in the second quarter after its economy grew 0.4 percent, compared with the first three months of the year when it shrank 0.1 percent.
Q2 growth at five-year low
Economic growth slowed to a five-year low in the second quarter, official data released yesterday showed. Statistics New Zealand said the economy expanded 0.5 percent in the April-to-June quarter, versus an expected 0.4 percent, as mining and manufacturing activity weakened. GDP growth rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier, but slowed from the first quarter’s 2.5 percent to become the weakest annual growth since the fourth quarter of 2013.
Microsoft eyes buyback
Microsoft Corp, the world’s largest software maker, said it would repurchase as much as US$40 billion of shares in a new buyback program and boosted its quarterly dividend by US$0.05 to US$0.51 a share. The repurchase authorization has no expiration date, and could be terminated at any time, Microsoft said on Wednesday in a statement. The company’s stock has risen 36 percent so far this year and its market capitalization remains at more than US$1 trillion.
Diageo forecasts organics
Spirits maker Diageo PLC yesterday said that it was “not immune” to changes in global trade policies. The Johnnie Walker whisky and Tanqueray gin maker said it continues to expect organic net sales growth to be toward the mid-point of a 4 to 6 percent range and organic operating profit to grow about 1 percentage point ahead of organic net sales. The company also said it expects first-half organic operating profit growth to be in line with or slightly behind organic net sales growth, due to stronger prior year comparables.
Boycott hurts Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways hit turbulence on Wednesday, posting a net loss of US$639 million for the year to March, which it blamed on key markets closing their airspace to Doha. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have enforced an economic boycott of Qatar since June 2017. It was “a challenging year and while it is disappointing that [the group] has registered a net loss of 2.3 billion Qatari riyals — attributable to the loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations — the underlying fundamentals of our business remain extremely robust,” the airline said.
Airbus faces spying probe
German prosecutors have opened an investigation into suspected internal spying by employees of European aviation giant Airbus over two arms projects, sources said on Wednesday. The suspicions arose “a few weeks ago,” and the company has alerted the authorities in Munich, an Airbus source said. “Some of our employees had documents that they shouldn’t have had,” the source said. The staff work in the Munich-based Program Line Communications, Intelligence and Security, which handles cybersecurity and related activities.
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) yesterday said that its insurance unit would adjust its investment portfolio after being banned from buying new stocks a day earlier by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC). “We will research what we can do based on the commission’s specific instructions after we receive the regulator’s formal documents,” Shin Kong Financial spokesman Sunny Hsu (徐順鋆) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The commission on Tuesday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$941,722) for reckless investment, and demanded that the insurer reduce its overseas investment ratio from 43 percent to 39 percent. The fine would affect
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
EQUITIES TAIEX moves sharply higher The TAIEX moved sharply higher yesterday as buying focused on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) after a strong showing by its American Depositary Receipts overnight. However, the gains were capped after the benchmark index breached 13,000 points and ran into technical hurdles, prompting investors to turn cautious, dealers said. At the end of the session, the TAIEX was up 131.11 points, or 1.02 percent, at 12,976.76. Turnover was NT$206.328 billion (US$7.04 billion), with foreign institutional investors buying a net NT$18.47 billion in shares, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed. TSMC rose 2.92 percent to close at NT$458.