Copper, nickel climb
Base metals yesterday stormed higher, with copper rallying above US$9,000 per tonne on bets that increased demand, driven by the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, would spur a historic deficit, putting the economic bellwether on course for a record run of monthly gains. Nickel topped US$20,000 per tonne. Copper climbed as much as 4 percent and is heading for an unprecedented 11th monthly rise this month. Metals are on a tear on expectations that post-crisis demand would outstrip near-term supply. That might reinforce speculation about a new commodity supercycle and stoke concern about rising price pressures, as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.
EU firms need UK offices
About 1,000 EU finance firms are expected to open their first offices in the UK after losing their passporting rights because of Brexit. About two-thirds of the 1,500 money managers, payment firms and insurers that have applied for regulatory permission to continue operating in the UK previously had no physical operations in the nation, according to British Financial Conduct Authority records obtained by Bovill, a financial consultancy. Irish, French and German companies together accounted for 584 of the 1,500 applications for authorization to do business in the UK. Cyprus, which is a popular venue for trading platforms, was the next most common, with 151.
M&T, People’s plan merger
M&T Bank Corp is nearing an agreement to merge with People’s United Financial Inc, with the two firms discussing an all-stock deal that could be finalized as soon as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The banks would have more than US$200 billion in assets combined, it said. People’s United has a market value of about US$6.6 billion, while M&T’s is more than US$19 billion. The combined firm is likely to be led by M&T chief executive Rene Jones and maintain a significant corporate presence in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the newspaper said.
Kuehne+Nagel to buy Apex
Kuehne+Nagel International AG has agreed to acquire Apex International Corp in a deal that values the freight forwarder at about US$1.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said. The Swiss logistics firm yesterday announced the transaction without providing any financial terms. Kuehne+Nagel is going to buy a majority stake in Apex Logistics from North Asia-focused private equity firm MBK Partners, which invested in the company in 2015. The management of Apex Logistics would retain a minority stake after the transaction, it said in a statement. The deal is still subject to conditions, including merger clearance by competition authorities, it said.
Home sales resilient
The property market is showing signs of strength, with weekend home sales reaching an eight-year high. The 10 biggest housing estates tracked by Centaline Property Agency Ltd (中原地產) recorded 37 transactions in the past weekend, a number unseen since 2013, it said. A stabilizing COVID-19 pandemic, relaxed social distancing measures and imminent vaccinations have boosted buyers’ confidence in the housing market, Louis Chan (陳榮威), CEO of Centaline’s residential division, said in an e-mailed statement. Despite experiencing the double whammy of protests and a pandemic, the residential market has remained resilient.
Google on Thursday restructured its responsible artificial intelligence (AI) efforts to centralize teams under a single executive, Marian Croak, a move by the Internet giant to stabilize groups working on ethics research and products after months of chaos. Croak, a vice president of engineering, would be the lead for the Responsible AI Research and Engineering Center of Expertise, she said in a YouTube video announcing her appointment. The Alphabet Inc unit has sought to defuse employee rancor stemming from the acrimonious departure of a prominent black researcher, Timnit Gebru. Croak, a black Google executive who is currently focused on site-reliability matters, would report
‘LESS DUMB’ LIQUIDITY: If more companies start to speculate in cryptocurrency, ‘we’re going to be in bubble territory before you know it,’ a market analyst said Bitcoin is closing in on a market value of US$1 trillion, a surge that is helping cryptocurrency returns far outstrip the performance of more traditional assets such as stocks and gold. The largest token has added more than US$415 billion of value this year to about US$956 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which includes bitcoin and four other coins, has more than doubled. Speculators, corporate treasurers and institutional investors are thought to have stoked bitcoin’s volatile ascent. Crypto believers are dueling with skeptics for the dominant narrative around the climb: The former see an asset being
PUNCTURE-PROOF: Air Fom tires are made of material used in sports shoe soles and offer a comfortable ride, although people are still skeptical about solid tires Getting a flat tire is a nightmare for cyclists, sending home early any rider who had ventured outdoors without a repair kit or spare inner tubes. Although punctured tires have long been a pain point for cyclists, the problem has never been effectively resolved, despite the bicycle industry going back centuries. A few products have been developed to help reduce the likelihood of flat tires: puncture-resistant tires, which are thicker than usual tires or come with a protective layer; anti-puncture tapes, which are placed between the tire and inner tube to offer extra protection; and tubeless systems that use sealant to close
LONG-TERM PLAN: The company expects growth in revenue from its automotive business this year and that it would contribute meaningfully to sales from 2023 Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) new electric vehicle (EV) platform is expected to help launch vehicles later this year, chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said on Saturday, signifying major progress in the electronics giant’s push into the automotive industry. Two light vehicles designed using the company’s MIH Open Platform would be unveiled in the fourth quarter, Liu told reporters at the company’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城). Hon Hai might at the same time also help launch an electric bus, he said. Hon Hai has been seeking to expand its automotive capabilities at a time when technology companies including