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.
CHINA NOT A FRIEND: ‘Newsflash: Democracy is good for your businesses,’ US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said as she gave a speech at a national defense forum US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Saturday urged lawmakers, Silicon Valley and US allies to stop China from getting semiconductors and cutting-edge technologies key to national security. Speaking at an annual national defense forum in Simi Valley, California, Raimondo called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve ever had” and stressed that “China is not our friend.” The world’s top two economies are locked in a fierce commercial and geopolitical rivalry, in which her department plays a leading role. In October, Raimondo unveiled a series of restrictions on the export of advanced chips to China, including those used in the development of artificial intelligence
STEADY: Prices are to rebound following inventory rebuilding demand, TrendForce said, with Samsung Electronics Co further trimming capacity as it slashes DDR4 lines The contract prices of DRAM chips are to rise by as much as 18 percent sequentially this quarter — the first price upticks in about eight quarters — driven mainly by inventory rebuilding demand for DRAM chips used in mobile devices and PCs, TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) projected yesterday. The price rebound is led by a quarterly increase of mobile DRAM chips, which are to climb between 13 percent and 18 percent quarter-on-quarter this quarter, which has not been seen since the fourth quarter of 2021, the Taipei-based market researcher predicted. Likewise, the price of mainstream PC DDR4 DRAM is expected to bounce
LONG ROAD AHEAD: The US is somewhere between one and two decades away from achieving the Biden administration’s goal to achieve chip autonomy, Jensen Huang said Nvidia Corp CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳), who runs the semiconductor industry’s most valuable company, said the US is as much as 20 years away from breaking its dependence on overseas chipmaking. Huang, speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday, explained how his company’s products rely on myriad components that come from different parts of the world — not just Taiwan, where the most important elements are manufactured. “We are somewhere between a decade and two decades away from supply chain independence,” he said. “It’s not a really practical thing for a decade or two.” The outlook suggests
A Hong Kong court postponed a court hearing on troubled Chinese property developer Evergrande Group’s (恆大集團) winding-up petition scheduled for yesterday until Jan. 29. Evergrande is trying to win support from its creditors for a plan to restructure more than US$300 billion in debt to stave off liquidation. The company’s lawyer told the court it was requesting an adjournment to “refine” its new debt restructuring plan. The Hong Kong High Court has postponed the hearing over Evergrande’s potential liquidation several times. Judge Linda Chan (陳靜芬) had said in October that yesterday’s hearing would be the last before a decision is handed down. Chan