IMF backs its leader
The IMF yesterday expressed “full confidence” in its managing director in response to allegations that World Bank staff were pressured to change business rankings for China in an effort to placate Beijing. The IMF’s 24-member executive board said in a statement that its review “did not conclusively demonstrate that the managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, played an improper role” in the situation in her former role as a top official of the World Bank. However, the board said the investigation into possible misconduct by World Bank staff was continuing.
SocGen to cut 3,700 jobs
French bank Societe Generale SA (SocGen) yesterday said it would cut 3,700 jobs between 2023 and 2025, as it merges its retail network with that of its unit Credit du Nord, but that there would be no forced redundancies. The new retail bank targets a headcount of 25,000 employees and the job cuts would come about through natural attrition, which is estimated at 1,500 a year until 2025. Announced in September last year, the merger would create a single bank with one branch network, one head office and one IT system serving nearly 10 million clients. SocGen said the regrouped network would have about 1,450 branches in 2025, and that the regrouping of the branches would not involve an exit from any town.
Tesla China shipments rise
Tesla Inc’s shipments of China-made cars to the local market rose for a second straight month last month, even as general auto sales declined. The electric-vehicle maker reported domestic shipments of 52,153 units last month, following a near 50 percent jump in August. The automaker exported 3,853 vehicles from its Shanghai factory, China’s Passenger Car Association said yesterday. That meant Tesla’s total China shipments climbed 27 percent from August to 56,006. The increase is in line with the broader trend for the automaker, which delivered a record 241,300 cars worldwide in the third quarter.
Sinic warns of default
Sinic Holdings Group Co (新力控股集團) yesterday said it does not expect to repay a US$250 million dollar bond due on Monday next week and that might trigger cross-default on its two other notes. The Shanghai-based developer has US$694 million in dollar bonds outstanding, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. The firm last month missed domestic payments, sparking an 87 percent stock plunge. Meanwhile, Fantasia Holdings Group Co (花樣年控股集團) announced two directors quit the troubled Chinese developer, leaving it in breach of Hong Kong listing rules. The departures leave Fantasia with only one independent non-executive director. According to listing rules, it must have at least three.
Jobless rate eases to 4.5%
The nation’s unemployment rate eased as the economy reopened, but vacancies hit another record peak before the end of the government’s furlough jobs support scheme, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement yesterday. The unemployment rate slid to 4.5 percent in the three months to August, it said. That compared with 4.6 percent in the three months to the end of July, but remained 0.5 percentage points higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, vacancies surged to almost 1.2 million last month, reflecting ongoing labor shortages.
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,