Retail sales edge up 0.6%
Retail sales climbed for an eighth straight month last month, indicating that the nation’s cashed-up households are coping well with rapid interest rate increases to tackle inflation. Sales advanced 0.6 percent from July, Bureau of Statistics data showed yesterday. The rise was driven by “the combined increase in food related industries, with cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services up,” said Ben Dorber, head of retail statistics at the bureau. Department store sales rose to a new record, while household goods retailing had its largest increase since March.
BOT raises rate again
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) yesterday increased the benchmark policy rate for the second straight meeting to tame the fastest inflation in 14 years and shore up the battered baht. The bank’s monetary policy committee voted to unanimously raise the one-day repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 1 percent, as forecast by 18 of 23 economists in a Bloomberg survey, with the rest predicting a hike of 50 basis points. Even after yesterday’s move, the BOT continues to be among the least hawkish in Asia, where many counterparts — including India and the Philippines — moved early and aggressively to tighten policy amid high inflation and weakening currencies.
Consumer confidence dips
Consumer confidence remains on a record downward slide, as Europe’s largest economy faces soaring inflation and an energy crisis heading into winter, a key survey showed yesterday. GfK’s forward-looking barometer fell to minus-42.5 points for next month, hitting a record low for the fourth month in a row, following a revised reading for this month of minus-36.8 points. “The currently very high inflation rates of almost 8 percent are leading to large real income losses among consumers and thus to a significant reduction in purchasing power,” GfK consumer expert Rolf Buerkl said.
Lego sales rise 17%
Lego A/S yesterday posted double-digit sales growth in the first half of the year, driven by new openings and robust demand for its colorful plastic bricks, despite rising costs and inflation hitting consumers. The family-owned company said it had outpaced the toy industry in all major markets during the first six months of the year, when revenue increased 17 percent to 27 billion Danish kroner (US$3.47 billion). Operating profit for the period was steady from last year at 7.9 billion kroner. The Danish company opened 66 new stores in the six-month period, of which 43 were in China, bringing the total number of Lego branded stores to 833 worldwide.
SATS to acquire WFS
SATS Ltd, a catering and gateway services provider, has agreed to acquire air cargo handler Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) at an enterprise value of 2.25 billion euros (US$2.15 billion). The Singapore-listed firm is to pay about 1.2 billion euros in cash for WFS, it said in a statement yesterday. The deal is to be financed with a S$1.7 billion (US$1.17 billion) equity fund raising, with the balance coming from internal cash resources, SATS said. The acquisition is expected to close in March next year. Temasek Holdings Pte, which owns about a 39.7 percent stake in SATS, has agreed to vote in favor of the acquisition.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) founder Jack Ma (馬雲) has been living in Tokyo for almost six months after disappearing from public view following China’s crackdown on the tech sector, the Financial Times reported yesterday, citing multiple unnamed sources. The billionaire has kept a low profile since the crackdown, which has included Chinese regulators scrapping the initial public offering of Ma’s Ant Group Co (螞蟻集團) and issuing Alibaba with record fines. However, the Times said he has spent much of the past six months with his family in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, along with visits to the US and Israel. The
‘REVOLUTION’: Elon Musk complained over a 30 percent fee Apple collects on Apple Store transactions and said the technology company has stopped advertising on Twitter Twitter Inc owner Elon Musk on Monday opened fire against Apple Inc over its tight control of what is allowed on the App Store, saying the iPhone maker has threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform. Musk also joined the chorus crying foul over a 30 percent fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store — the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion-plus mobile devices. A series of Twitter posts fired off by Musk included a meme of a car with his first name on it veering onto a highway off-ramp labeled “Go to War,” instead
GLOBAL EXPANSION: The manufacturer said it increased its stake in the Chinese unit to 1.5 billion yuan and started rolling out electric Lordstown trucks at its Ohio plant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) has increased its investments in the Czech Republic and China by more than NT$6 billion (US$196 million) as part of its global expansion. The company, known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) internationally, has also begun shipping electric pickup trucks produced for US brand Lordstown Motors Corp. In a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Friday, Hon Hai said it has raised investments in its Czech subsidiary Foxteq CZ by US$58.98 million through its PCE Paragon Solutions Kft unit. In the Czech Republic, Hon Hai has a research-and-development center and a product design center, and it assembles monitors, cellphones,
‘COMPETITIVE EDGE’: The local semiconductor sector would continue to outstrip the global industry, whose revenue is expected to contract 3.6 percent, ITRI said The production value of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry would expand 6.1 percent annually to about NT$5 trillion (US$161.5 billion) next year, as demand for advanced chips used in high-performance-computing and artificial intelligence devices are less prone to mounting inflation and external uncertainties, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) said yesterday. That means the local semiconductor sector would continue to outstrip the global semiconductor industry, whose output is expected to contract 3.6 percent annually to US$596 billion next year, Gartner Inc has said. However, ITRI’s latest forecast represents a downgrade from its previous projection of 10 percent growth, as demand for PCs,