BOJ keeps rates steady
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) yesterday kept monetary policy steady, but offered a bleaker view on exports and output. “Exports and factory output continue to increase, although they are partly affected by supply constraints,” the BOJ said in a statement announcing the decision. That was a gloomier view than in July, when it said exports and output “continued to increase steadily.” As widely expected, the BOJ maintained its short-term interest rate target at minus-0.1 percent and at about zero for 10-year bond yields.
Holiday spending weak
COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted another holiday spending period, worsening the growth outlook for the world’s second-largest economy. Travel over the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday was at 87 percent of the level recorded during the same period in 2019, with people making 88.2 million trips, Ministry of Culture and Tourism data showed. Tourism revenue reached 79 percent of 2019’s level, suggesting that consumers were not confident to spend or were making cheaper trips.
Losses from scams surge
Increasingly tech-savvy criminals are turning to fake Web sites, online dating profiles and even impersonating your boss to trick consumers into authorizing fraudulent payments. Losses related to such tactics — known as authorized push payment scams — rose 71 percent in the first half of the year to ￡355 million (US$484 million), said a report published yesterday by UK Finance, a lobby group for the banking industry. Cases rose 60 percent to 106,164.
Entain stock jumps on offer
Entain PLC’s shares yesterday jumped 10 percent to a record high after the gambling firm announced a US$22.4 billion takeover proposal from US-based DraftKings Inc. The British group’s shares hit ￡24.9 after the opening bell on the UK’s blue-chip index, compared with the ￡28 per share proposed by DraftKings — a 46.2 percent premium to Entain’s closing price on Monday. Markets have also been pricing in the prospects of another bid from casino group MGM Resorts International, with which Entain has a joint venture in the US. Entain in January rejected an US$11 billion offer from MGM.
Lead times up to 21 weeks
The amount of time it is taking for chip-starved companies to get orders filled stretched to 21 weeks last month, indicating the shortages that have crippled auto production and held back growth in the electronics industry are getting worse. Chip lead times, the gap between ordering a semiconductor and taking delivery, increased by six days to about 21 weeks last month from the previous month, according to research by Susquehanna Financial Group. That gap was already the longest wait time since the firm began tracking the data in 2017.
Total CEO under probe
TotalEnergies SE chief executive Patrick Pouyanne is the subject of a preliminary investigation into alleged conflict of interest, the French financial prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday, confirming earlier reports. The probe was opened following a complaint filed at the end April by the French arm of Greenpeace, as well as by anti-corruption group Anticor, and an association called La Sphinx, which says it represents students and alumni of the university.
US crude futures on Friday topped US$80 a barrel for the first time since November 2014 as a global energy crisis boosts demand at a time when OPEC+ producers are keeping supplies tight. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery popped above the key psychological level before pulling back and closing up 1.34 percent at US$79.35 a barrel, gaining 4.57 percent from a week earlier. Brent crude for December delivery increased 0.54 percent a barrel to US$82.39, up 3.92 percent from a week earlier. This week brought many indications that supplies would remain constrained: Saudi Aramco said a global natural gas shortage was
Units of Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co are targeting to resume full operations of their Ho Chi Minh City plants by the end of next month, a move that could provide relief to global supply chains. Saigon Hi-Tech Park is helping its tenants, many of which are running at about 70 percent capacity, to operate fully next month, park deputy manager Le Bich Loan said in a phone interview. She did not elaborate on the steps the park is taking, particularly efforts at bringing back workers who fled to home provinces. The Ho Chi Minh City unit of Nidec Sankyo Corp,
CHIP CRUNCH: Apple’s woes show that even the king of the technology world is not immune from global shortages made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic Apple Inc is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for this year by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, people with knowledge of the matter said. The company had expected to produce 90 million new iPhone models in the final three months of this year, but it is now telling manufacturing partners that the total would be lower because Broadcom Inc and Texas Instruments Inc are struggling to deliver enough components, the people said. Apple gets display parts from Texas Instruments, while Broadcom is its longtime supplier of wireless components. One Texas
Down a dusty farm track in Chilean wine country, behind a wooden gate wrapped in chains, forestry experts are nursing a plantation of saplings whose bark holds the promise of potent vaccines. Quillay trees, technically known as Quillaja saponaria, are rare evergreens native to Chile that have long been used by the indigenous Mapuche people to make soap and medicine. In the past few years, they have also been used to make a highly successful vaccine against shingles and the world’s first malaria vaccine, as well as foaming agents for products in the food, beverage and mining industries. Now two saponin molecules,