Sales surge 63% in Europe
New vehicles registrations last month rose 63 percent from a year earlier, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said yesterday. The gains erased an early-year decline to leave sales up 0.9 percent for the quarter. Last month’s sales stack up well even relative to before the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1.39 million vehicles registered was the highest since June 2019. “Only the critical global supply situation for various semiconductor categories currently has a limiting effect on this upswing,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said at the Hannover Messe trade fair on Thursday. March tends to be a seasonally strong time of year for Europe’s auto industry, so registrations were still about 13 percent below what the industry averaged for the month in the decade before the pandemic, the ACEA said.
Google misled users: court
A federal court found that Alphabet Inc’s Google misled some consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said yesterday. The commission is seeking declarations and penalties from Google, but it did not specify an amount. “This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” commission Chair Rod Sims said in a statement. The case revolves around Google settings related to its location data collection, location history and “web & app activity.” The court found that Google wrongly claimed it could only collect information from the location history setting on user devices from January 2017 to December 2018.
The central bank is banning the use of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, as payments for goods and services, a decision published in the Official Gazette yesterday showed. The decision comes as many in the nation have turned to cryptocurrencies to shield their savings from rising inflation and the local currency’s slump. The bank said that transactions carried out through the use of cryptocurrencies presented “irrevocable” risks. Crypto assets are “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority. Their market values can be excessively volatile,” the bank said. It also cited their use in “illegal actions due to their anonymous structures,” and their possible use “illegally without the authorization of their holders.” The restriction is to take effect on April 30, the bank said.
Man crowd funds to pay PM
A rights advocate yesterday said that he had raised S$144,389 (US$108,297) through social media to cover defamation damages he had to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), the second such crowdfunding case involving a blogger this month. Lee sued Roy Ngerng (鄞義林) for a blog post in 2014, in which Ngerng allegedly implicated him in impropriety in connection with how funds in the nation’s mandatory retirement savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund, are managed. In 2015, the High Court ordered Ngerng to pay Lee S$150,000 in damages, in addition to S$29,000 in legal fees. Ngerng said he had revived his fundraising campaign after Leong Sze Hian (梁實軒), a financial adviser, raised S$133,000 this month to cover damages that he was ordered to pay Lee in a separate defamation case.
The London Metal Exchange (LME) discovered bags of stones instead of the nickel that underpinned a handful of its contracts at a warehouse in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in a revelation that would deliver another blow to confidence in the embattled exchange. The amount of metal represents just 0.14 percent of live nickel inventories on the LME, worth about US$1.3 million at current prices, so the immediate effect on the metals markets is limited. However, the shock announcement has much wider implications. In an industry riddled with scandals, the LME’s contracts are viewed as unquestionably safe. The news that even a few of
Oil on Friday posted its worst weekly loss since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as banking turmoil poisoned investor sentiment. West Texas Intermediate for April delivery dropped 2.36 percent to US$66.74 per barrel, falling 12.96 percent for the week, the largest drop in almost three years. Brent crude for May delivery fell 2.32 percent to US$72.97, posting a weekly loss of 11.85 percent. The failure of Silicon Valley Bank and troubles at Credit Suisse Group AG drove investors from risk assets, with oil-options covering accelerating the sell-off. “Crude action this week reminded many of how quickly the commodity can be decimated by
Singapore pushed New York off the top spot for the strongest growth in residential rents in the final quarter of last year, fueled by a supply crunch and strong demand. The city-state saw annual rents jump 28 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, Knight Frank said in a report. New York followed with 19 percent growth, while London and Toronto took the third and fourth spots, a survey of prime residential rents across 10 cities showed. Singapore’s soaring rents — driven partly due to a lack of supply of new housing during the COVID-19 pandemic — have been a source of
US-based mobile chip designer Qualcomm Inc yesterday opened a manufacturing engineering and testing center in Hsinchu, expanding its presence in Taiwan. Qualcomm also expects to accelerate its purchases in Taiwan, which already rose to NT$240 billion (US$7.9 billion) last year, up from NT$90 billion five years earlier, and should hit NT$300 billion next year. The center is to provide services for the supply chain in the semiconductor industry, Roawen Chen (陳若文), senior vice president and chief supply chain and operations officer of Qualcomm, said at the facility’s inauguration ceremony. It is Qualcomm’s largest and most advanced engineering testing center outside of the company’s