Inflation up for third month
The city-state’s key inflation gauge accelerated for a third month to the fastest in almost 14 years, data showed yesterday. The central bank’s closely watched core inflation gauge rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier last month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a joint statement. That pace, the fastest since December 2008, compares with 3.3 percent in April. The increase was due to “across the board” inflation in food, services, retail goods and energy, they said in the statement. The MAS and the ministry reiterated their forecasts for main price measures this year, seeing core inflation at 2.5 to 3.5 percent.
Gas alert level raised
The government yesterday said it would raise the alert level under its emergency gas plan to secure supply following the recent reduction of pipeline supplies from Russia. “Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck told reporters. Triggering phase two brings the nation a step closer to the third and final stage that could see gas rationing in Europe’s top economy. The government has mandated that gas storage facilities be filled to 90 percent ahead of the European winter this year to mitigate the risks from a supply cut. The nation’s stores stand just under 60 percent full.
BMW new China plant starts
BMW AG yesterday said that production has formally begun at a new plant in China with an investment of 15 billion yuan (US$2.24 billion) as the automaker accelerates electric vehicle (EV) production. The Lydia plant, BMW’s third auto assembly facility in China, in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, would increase the German firm’s annual output in the world’s biggest auto market to 830,000 vehicles from 700,0000 last year, the company said. The first model that would roll off the Lydia plant’s production lines is the i3, a pure electric mid-sized sports sedan, it said.
Japan halts coal projects
Japan is to withdraw financing for key coal-fired power plant projects in Bangladesh and Indonesia under efforts aimed at accelerating a global phaseout of the dirtiest fossil fuel. Asia’s second-largest economy would stop providing government-backed yen loans to the Matarbari 2 coal expansion project in Bangladesh and the Indramayu plant in Indonesia, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Japanese firms are also withdrawing from the coal sector amid scrutiny from activist investors. Sumitomo Corp and Toshiba Corp have both indicated they would not take new orders for coal-fired projects. Commercial banks have made similar pledges.
SMFG investing in SBI
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG) has agreed to take a 10 percent stake in SBI Holdings Inc, cementing an alliance between two of Japan’s most prominent financial firms that would center on digital services. SBI, which runs Japan’s largest online brokerage, said it would raise ￥79.2 billion (US$584 million) from a share sale through a third-party allotment to Sumitomo Mitsui, a regulatory filing showed yesterday. SBI is issuing the shares at ￥2,950 apiece, a 14 percent premium over the closing price on Wednesday. The alliance is to focus on providing online financial services for individuals, including younger and mass-affluent customers, SBI said in a statement.
China’s chip industry is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, after US sanctions on local champions — from Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to Hikvision Digital Technology Co (海康威視) — spurred appetite for homegrown components. Nineteen of the world’s 20 fastest-growing chip industry firms over the past four quarters, on average, hail from the world’s No. 2 economy, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. That compared with just eight firms at the same point last year. Revenue at China-based suppliers of design software, processors and gear vital to chipmaking is increasing at several times the pace of global leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co
Had Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck hopped on an electric scooter rather than a Vespa in the classic film Roman Holiday, their spin around the Eternal City might have ended in tears. The number of crashes and near-misses involving the two-wheelers has prompted Rome authorities to impose some order on a booming rental market that began two years ago. The havoc came to a head earlier this month when two US tourists attempted a night-time drive down the Spanish Steps, causing more than 25,000 euros (US$26,392) worth of damage to the 18th-century monument. Caught on security footage, the couple in their late 20s
POSITIVE SIGNS: GlobalWafers has continued to sign long-term supply agreements, most of which exceed 2028, and aside from one factory, it is running at full capacity GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), the world’s third-largest silicon wafer maker, yesterday said that Samsung Electronics Co and most of its customers have not scaled back on orders, or delayed shipments, even though consumer spending has shifted away from smartphones and notebook computers due to mounting inflation pressures. Rising inflation has altered consumers’ spending habits, dampening sales of consumer electronics, the Hsinchu-based company said. However, customers all honored their supply agreements by adjusting their product mix and shifting to applications that are still reporting robust growth, it said. Aside from one 6-inch factory, GlobalWafers’ 15 factories around the world are running at 100 percent
Nearly a quarter of European companies in China are considering shifting their investments out of the country as COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns dim the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, a survey showed. About 23 percent of the businesses that responded to the survey are thinking of moving their current or planned investments away from China, a report released yesterday by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China said. The survey was conducted at the end of April, when Shanghai was still in shut down and restrictions in places like Jilin Province disrupted business activity. The number of European firms reassessing