Q1 plunge of 9% forecast
China’s economy is set to post a 9 percent plunge in the first quarter from a year earlier, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said yesterday. A day after retail sales, industrial output and investment data plunged by far more than the median estimate of analysts, Goldman economists said that their new forecast for real GDP growth this year is 3 percent, down from 5.5 percent. The previous first-quarter forecast was for an expansion of 2.5 percent.
McDonald’s targets toys
McDonald’s Corp yesterday pledged to end the use of plastic found in toys served with children’s “Happy Meals” in the UK and Ireland by the beginning of next year. The plastic items would be replaced with a “soft toy, sustainable paper-based gifts or books,” the US fast-food giant said. “This represents the biggest reduction in plastic by McDonald’s UK and Ireland to date and is the next step in its mission to reduce its environmental impact across all areas of the business,” the company said in a statement.
Carphone to shut stores
British electricals retailer Dixons Carphone PLC is closing all of its 531 UK standalone Carphone Warehouse stores as part of a plan to turn around its mobile business, the company said yesterday. The stores, representing 8 percent of Dixons Carphone’s total UK selling space, are to close on April 3. The closures would result in 2,900 redundancies, with 1,800 other workers expected to take new roles internally.
Nordstrom revises forecast
Apparel retailer Nordstrom Inc on Monday withdrew its forecast for the current fiscal year and said that it would close stores in the US and Canada for two weeks, starting yesterday, in an effort to arrest the spread of COVID-19. The stores closing include Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack and Trunk Club clubhouses. It would provide pay and benefits to its store employees during the period, Nordstrom said.
S&P downgrades Boeing
S&P Global Ratings on Monday downgraded its rating for aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. “Boeing’s cash flows for the next two years are going to be much weaker than we had expected, due to the 737 MAX grounding, resulting in worse credit ratios than we had forecast,” S&P said in a statement. “In addition, the significant reduction in global air travel due to the coronavirus will likely result in an increase in aircraft order deferrals, further pressuring cash flows.” It lowered its rating for the company to “BBB” from “A-.”
Huge French fine for Apple
The French Competition Authority on Monday slapped a record 1.1 billion euro (US$1.2 billion) fine on US tech giant Apple Inc for anti-competitive behavior toward its independent retail distributors. It found that Apple acted to prevent independent retailers in France from competing on price and abused its economic power over them, the agency said. Authority President Isabelle de Silva said that it was “the heaviest fine against a firm” as well as in any case, which also included two of Apple’s wholesalers in France who were hit with fines worth nearly 140 million euros.
RECORD BUDGET: TSMC does plan to raise its proposed capital expenditure a lot, and could benefit if Intel outsources more of its production to foundries, analysts said Intel Corp’s earnings conference call on Thursday is expected to clarify the US semiconductor giant’s outsourcing production plans, which would be crucial regarding Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) performance, analysts said. “TSMC stands to benefit if Intel outsources more of its fabrication to foundries,” SinoPac Securities Investment Service Corp (永豐投顧) analysts said in a note on Friday. Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) was more cautious, saying that Intel’s contribution initially would be limited, but its outsourcing plans would still highlight TSMC’s leadership in technology, it added. “Intel will continue to manufacture server or high-end central processing units [CPUs], which have higher
MOBILE SMART: The Dimensity 1200 is 22 percent better in terms of performance than its predecessor, and 25 percent more power-efficient, the handset chip designer said MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday unveiled its premium 5G processors — the Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100 — as it vies for a larger slice of the world’s rapidly growing 5G smartphone market. Manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (台積電) 6-nanometer process technology, the Dimensity 1200 processor performs 22 percent better than the previous generation Dimensity 1000+ processor, and is 25 percent more power-efficient, MediaTek said. Chinese smartphone brands Xiaomi Corp (小米) and Realme Mobile Telecommunications (Shenzhen) Co (銳爾覓移動通信) are to be the first adopters of the latest Dimensity chips, the companies said during a virtual media briefing. Xiaomi plans to equip its first
Norway’s oil and gas reserves have made it one of the world’s wealthiest countries, but its dreams for deep-sea discovery now center on something different. This time, Oslo is looking for a leading role in mining copper, zinc and other metals found on the seabed and in hot demand in green technologies. The country could license companies for deep-sea mining as early as 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said, potentially placing it among the first countries to harvest seabed metals for electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar farms. However, that could also place it on the front line of
‘BROAD RANGE’: The US Department of Commerce intends to deny a significant number of license requests for exports to Huawei, an industry association said US President Donald Trump’s administration notified Huawei Technologies Co (華為) suppliers, including chipmaker Intel Corp, that it is revoking certain licenses to sell to the Chinese company and intends to reject dozens of other applications to supply the telecommunications firm, people familiar with the matter told reporters. The action — likely the last against Huawei under Trump — is the latest in a long-running effort to weaken the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, which Washington sees as a national security threat. The notices came amid a flurry of US efforts against China in the final days of Trump’s administration. US president-elect Joe