Fed reports slowing growth
Supply bottlenecks and labor shortages have slowed economic growth and contributed to a sharp rise in prices, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. The constraints and shortage of goods caused “significantly elevated prices” in most parts of the country, the Fed said in its “beige book” report on economic conditions, which noted rising uncertainty about the outlook. While economic activity increased at a “modest to moderate” rate over the past several weeks, in much of the country “the pace of growth slowed,” it said, adding that this was due to “supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and uncertainty around the Delta variant” of SARS-CoV-2.
Property lending rules eased
The central bank temporarily suspended home mortgage lending limits to revive the sluggish property market and COVID-19 pandemic-hit economy, fueling a rally in shares of real-estate developers. Home buyers can now take loans equivalent to 100 percent of the property’s value until the end of next year, the Bank of Thailand said yesterday. That is up from a previously required loan-to-value range of 70 to 90 percent, with that ceiling dependent on the type and number of houses purchased. The mortgage move is aimed at boosting the property sector and related businesses, which account for 9.8 percent of the economy and employ 2.8 million people, Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Roong Mallikamas told a news briefing.
Trade deal with UK inked
The South Pacific nation has become the second country to secure a post-Brexit free-trade agreement with the UK, in a deal that aims to eliminate all tariffs on exports and eventually boost the economy by almost NZ$1 billion (US$718 million). The government said that the UK would remove most tariffs on exports to the country — including wine, honey, onions, some dairy products and most industrial products — as soon as the agreement comes into force. However, tariffs on exports including butter, cheese, beef and sheep meat, seasonable apples and some fish would slowly be removed over the next 15 years.
ABB downgrades forecast
Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd yesterday downgraded its sales expectations for this year as global shortages in semiconductors weighed on its business. ABB now expects revenue growth of 6 to 8 percent, adjusting for currency effects and any acquisitions or mergers, the company said as it posted third-quarter results. In the three months to last month, orders jumped by 29 percent compared with the same period last year, to close to US$7.9 billion, but sales increased by 7 percent to US$7 billion, below expectations.
Flixbus to acquire Greyhound
Germany’s Flixbus DACH GmbH yesterday announced that it would acquire US long-distance bus operator Greyhound Lines Inc, expanding its low-cost coach offering in North America. Flixbus would pay US$172 million to FirstGroup, the British owner of Greyhound, which serves 2,400 destinations in North America, carrying almost 16 million passengers a year. Founded in 2013, Flixbus has grown into Germany’s most popular long-distance bus service, operating in 36 countries besides the US. Founded in 1914, Greyhound Lines is the US’ biggest intercity bus service.
JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive officer Jamie Dimon on Tuesday quipped that his company is likely to outlast the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), while reiterating the bank’s commitment to the country in wide-ranging comments that also touched on Taiwan, free speech and former US president Donald Trump. “We hope to be there [in China] for a long time,” Dimon told a panel discussion at the Boston College Chief Executives Club. Relaying a “joke” he made during a recent visit to Hong Kong, he said “The communist party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. And I’ll make you a
The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday said it would impose a property hoarding tax as it is seeking to contain speculation in the real-estate market, calling recent price increases “abnormal.” The announcement came in support of the Ministry of Finance’s call for local governments to levy a high tax rate on people with more than one property. Ministry officials on Tuesday discussed strategies to rein in speculation with the nation’s six special municipalities, as well as the Hsinchu city and county governments. About 84,000 out of 1.06 million housing units in Kaohsiung are not residential property, the city government said in a
PharmaEssentia Corp (藥華醫藥) shares have jumped 80.56 percent since the company obtained a US polycythemia vera (PV) drug license for its new interferon drug Besremi (ropeginterferon alfa-2b-njft) on Nov. 12. Shares on Friday closed at NT$195 in Taipei trading, up from the stock’s closing price of NT$108 on Nov. 12. PV is a rare, chronic and life-threatening blood cancer linked to a stem cell mutation in the bone marrow that results in an overproduction of blood cells and places sufferers at risk of having a blood clot, stroke or heart attack. PharmaEssentia is preparing to make Besremi available in the US in the
BOOST EXPECTED: Higher market prices would offset effects of the industry’s transition to more climate-friendly production methods, a company official said China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) expects steel demand to increase on the back of governments around the world subsidizing infrastructure construction amid a stabilizing COVID-19 pandemic, CSC chairman Wong Chao-tung (翁朝棟) told an investors’ meeting yesterday. “After getting through the hard times, I foresee at least one year, very possibly two years, of strong steel market,” Wong said. Calling a dip in steel prices a “short respite for the market,” Wong said that it would likely bounce back early next year on the back of mild winter temperatures around the world allowing construction activity. Despite COVID-19 spikes in some regions and increased