Evergrande’s ratings down
Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday lowered China Evergrande Group’s (恒大集團) credit rating by one notch to “B2,” the second downgrade by a global ratings company in less than two weeks. “Although Evergrande has been reducing its debt to improve its financial stability, the company still faces sizeable maturing debt and puttable bonds over the next 12 to 18 months,” Moody’s said. The Shenzhen-based developer said it has reduced its net debt-to-equity ratio to below 100 percent, and pared total borrowings to about 570 billion yuan (US$88.2 billion) from 717 billion yuan in December last year.
Housing boom eases
A housing boom took a breather last quarter, after a return to lockdown conditions amid a COVID-19 outbreak eased price growth. Private property values rose 0.9 percent sequentially from the previous quarter, when they rose 3.3 percent, preliminary estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed yesterday. It was the first time price growth slowed in five quarters. Fewer property launches also caused prices to slow, said Christine Sun (孫燕清), senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie (橙易產業).
Central bank keeps policies
The central bank yesterday kept its policy unchanged and said that the economy still needed support even as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic fade. “The Executive Board has therefore decided to hold the repo rate unchanged at zero percent, and that during the fourth quarter the Riksbank will continue purchasing assets within the envelope” of 700 billion kronor (US$81.62 billion), it said in a statement. The Riksbank sees the economy growing 4.2 percent this year, as inflation is above the 2 percent target and housing prices have soared.
Ford curtails production
Ford Motor Co is halting production for two weeks at a Michigan factory that just began building its highly anticipated Bronco SUV, citing a lack of unspecified parts. The automaker is also curtailing production at eight additional factories this month and next month due to a global shortage of semiconductors that has hobbled auto production worldwide. Ford said it is diverting its scarce semiconductor supply to finish nearly completed vehicles that are awaiting chips before being sent to dealers.
Krispy Kreme IPO falls short
Krispy Kreme Inc on Wednesday priced its US initial public offering (IPO) below a marketed range to raise US$500 million, short of the US$640 million it had sought. The company said in a statement that it sold more than 29 million shares for US$17 each. While the size of the sale was expanded from the almost 27 million shares that Krispy Kreme had planned to sell, the offer price was well below the US$21 to US$24 marketed range. Krispy Kreme is valued in the listing at about US$2.78 billion.
Russia tightens IT rules
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law obliging foreign information technology (IT) firms to open offices on Russian territory, a document published yesterday by the government showed. Moscow has fined IT firms for failing to delete content it says is illegal, slowing down the speed of Twitter as punishment, and on Wednesday opened a new case against Google for breaching personal data legislation.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
‘SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC PAIN’: A military takeover would only temporarily weigh on wafer production on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, IC Insights said Taiwan has more chip manufacturing capacity than any other economy in the world, US-based market information advisory firm IC Insights said in a research paper last week, cautioning that the nation’s strength could prompt China to attempt to take over Taiwan. Taiwan commanded 21.4 percent of global installed IC capacity, ahead of South Korea’s 20.4 percent, Japan’s 15.8 percent and China’s 15.3 percent, North America’s 12.6 percent and Europe’s 5.7 percent, IC Insights said. Taiwan is one of two countries that uses 10-nanometer technology or better to produce wafers, holding 62.8 percent of global capacity, with South Korea holding the remaining 37.2
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has
PRICE SPREAD: Oil trading under the Brent futures contract is giving the US a hefty edge in pricing, increasing the rush to secure cheap fuel as winter approaches Asian demand for US oil is rising as the energy crisis boosts prices for other crudes that are priced against the global Brent futures contract. China and other Asian buyers have been snapping up supertankers of US oil for delivery next month and seeking more for December, some traders have said. Most buyers are seeking US grades that had recently slumped to the lowest levels in more than a year, with an added incentive after Beijing awarded millions of tonnes of crude oil import quotas. A wide spread between Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures is accommodating higher US crude