GDP growth slows in Q2
Economic growth slowed in the second quarter, officials said yesterday, warning that surging inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic would weigh on the outlook for the rest of the year. GDP rose 7.4 percent, slightly weaker than the 7.5 percent expected and down from 8.2 percent in the previous three months, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters. “We’re likely to face challenges indeed in sustaining that growth,” he said, with the pace seen easing further in the second half. However, the economy should still hit the official target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent expansion this year, he added.
US buying sentiment dips
Consumers have become the most pessimistic about housing since 2011, when home prices bottomed in the wake of the global financial crisis, data from the Federal National Mortgage Association showed on Monday. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade, as consumers expressed pessimism about home-buying prospects. The index, which reflects consumers’ views on the housing market, fell from about 76 to 63 year-on-year. Four of the index’s six components dropped month-on-month, including views on buying and selling conditions, home-price outlook and job-loss concerns, Fannie Mae said, citing its national housing survey.
Cox to buy Axios
US news Web site Axios Media, which has shot to prominence since its 2016 founding, has agreed to a US$525 million deal to sell itself to US telecom group Cox Enterprises Inc, the firms said on Monday. Since Axios’ launch as a news source specializing in technology and politics, it has expanded into local news — and the buyout investment would help grow that expansion. The founders of Axios, built by long-time Washington journalists, will keep stakes in the company and continue to lead day-to-day editorial and business decisions, Cox said in a release.
SABIC profit rises 3.8%
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) reported a 3.8 percent increase in quarterly earnings, but warned that profit margins would remain “under pressure” as costs climb. Prices of products such as polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride have jumped as economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting demand. Yet a supply-chain squeeze has pushed up expenses for producers. SABIC said net income rose to 7.93 billion riyals (US$2.11 billion) in the second quarter from 7.64 billion riyals a year earlier. Revenue climbed 32 percent to 56 billion riyals, beating analysts’ estimates.
Munich Re profit falls
German reinsurance giant Munich Re yesterday reported a drop in its second-quarter profit, as market volatility took a toll on investments, but the firm maintained its performance target for this year. The group’s preliminary net profit from April to June reached 768 million euros (US$786 million), down from 1.1 billion euros in the same period last year. Munich Re, whose business consists mostly in covering the risks taken on by insurers, said the value of its holdings had slumped by 908 million euros, mainly due to losses on equity investments. Its profit target of 3.3 billion euros for this year remains unchanged, it said.
CONSIDERATIONS: The NSTC instructed the park to assist laid-off workers and urge companies to use furlough programs to ease the effects of falling demand Firms in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), which houses major tech companies, reported laying off 496 employees last month amid weakened global demand, Hsinchu Science Park Bureau director-general Wayne Wang (王永壯) said yesterday. Wang told a news conference that 48 companies in the science park laid off employees last month, including one hard disk supplier which let go 241 employees as part of a plant closure due to falling demand. Other companies reported sporadic layoffs as they adjusted to weakening demand, he said. Wang made the remarks after local media reported the layoffs over the weekend. Although the global economy is struggling with high
DEJA VU: Echoing the probe into real-estate giant Evergrande Group, the bank is under Beijing police scrutiny after last week, telling investors it is ‘severely insolvent’ Chinese authorities said they recently opened criminal investigations into Zhongzhi Enterprise Group Co’s (中植企業) money management business, days after the embattled shadow banking giant revealed a shortfall of US$36.4 billion in its balance sheet. Police in Beijing said in a statement on WeChat that they took “criminal mandatory measures” against multiple suspects, identifying one by their last name, Xie (解). They urged investors to report cases or provide leads to the authorities, including filing complaints online. Xie Zhikun (解直錕), the group’s founder, died in 2021, but several of his relatives are executives at the company. The statement did not elaborate on what
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck have promised to solve investment subsidy issues for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Intel Corp, despite the country’s budget woes. Uncertainty over the funding to TSMC and Intel has arisen after a ruling by the German Federal Constitutional Court, which cast doubt over subsidies for construction of local semiconductor chip plants. On Nov. 15, the court ruled that the German government’s decision last year to reallocate 60 billion euros (US$65.74 billion) of unused funding from COVID-19 pandemic support measures to its Climate and Transformation Fund
NEW TREAD: The Taiwanese shoe brand paired with TSMC to turn silicon waste into a circular economy good, following its success making shoes from coffee grounds Ccilu International Inc (馳綠國際), a Taiwan-based footwear brand, has become the first company in the world to turn silicon waste from contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) into eco-friendly shoes. Last year, the global footwear industry saw the first pair of pressure-relief slippers made from recycled silicon waste by Ccilu. The brand continued to unveil follow-up collections, including sports shoes and massage slippers made from the same materials. In an interview with CNA, Ccilu CEO Wilson Hsu (許佳鳴) recalled the company’s innovation of the first pair of slippers made from silicon waste after its silicon waste treatment partner, Semisils Applied Materials