PM touts sturdy economy
The economy is robust enough to withstand the effects of the energy crunch that has gripped Europe and filtered into Scandinavia, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. “We have a very, very strong economy,” Lofven said in an interview in New York on Sunday. “If we have dramatically higher prices in the long term, that will affect consumption, but I don’t think we’re there.” Sweden’s debt to GDP ratio has held below 40 percent even during the COVID-19 crisis and remains one of the lowest in Europe. That measure is set to fall to about 35 percent, Lofven said.
Lufthansa to issue shares
Europe’s largest airline group, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, said on Sunday that it would seek to raise more than 2 billion euros (US$2.34 billion) with a capital increase. The German company said its executive board had agreed to a share issue from tomorrow and “the gross proceeds are expected to amount to 2.140 billion euros.” The transaction, intended to improve its equity position and help repay state aid provided in the course of the pandemic, was underwritten by a syndicate of 14 banks, Lufthansa said.
Merck to invest 3bn euros
Merck KGaA plans to spend more than 3 billion euros through 2025 on its electronics business to capitalize on rising demand for semiconductor and display panel materials. The German company would expand production capacity, bolster research and development spending and is also considering bolt-on acquisitions, it said in a statement yesterday. The company makes materials and technologies for computer chips and display screens, as well as effect pigments — products that are sold to the automotive, printing and cosmetics industries. A global semiconductor shortage has been devastating vehicle production this year.
JPMorgan begins expansion
JPMorgan Chase & Co this week plans to launch a digital retail bank in the UK, the first step in the its strategy to expand its consumer business overseas. The operation, called Chase, is today to start with current accounts, a person familiar with the matter said. The product offering would broaden over time with the bank planning to invest “hundreds of millions” in the venture, Sanoke Viswanathan, head of JPMorgan’s International Consumer division, said in an interview with the Financial Times. The US bank agreed to buy UK digital wealth manager Nutmeg Saving and Investment in June, and Viswanathan told the Financial Times that more acquisitions might be considered.
Bitcoin ‘threatens’ the planet
Mining for bitcoin generates substantial electronic waste that “represents a growing threat to the environment,” a study said. The average life cycle of the powerful computers used to unearth the units of the world’s leading cryptocurrency is only 1.3 years, report coauthor Alex de Vries said on Friday. De Vries said that this was “extremely short compared to any” other electronic devices such as iPhones. At 30,700 tonnes, the amount of electronic waste generated by bitcoin mining in the 12 months to May was “comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands,” the report said.
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