German production falls
German industrial production fell more than expected in March, partly due to a weak performance by the automotive sector, spurring recession fears in Europe’s largest economy. Production decreased by 3.4 percent on the previous month following a slightly revised increase of 2.1 percent in February, the Federal Statistical Office said yesterday. “After a buoyant performance by industrial production at the beginning of the year, there was an unexpectedly sharp decline in March,” the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action said. The manufacture of motor vehicles and automotive parts fell by 6.5 percent on the previous month. Production in machinery and equipment fell by 3.4 percent, and output in the construction sector decreased by 4.6 percent from a month earlier. In the first quarter, production was 2.5 percent higher than in the final quarter of last year, the statistics office said.
Chinese ratio hits 279.7%
The Chinese economy’s debt ratio reached a record high in the first quarter of this year, with bank loans to companies surging as the nation emerged from its “zero COVID-19”policy. The macro leverage ratio — or total debt as a percentage of GDP — soared to 279.7 percent in the first quarter, Bank of China and National Bureau of Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg showed. That was an increase of 7.7 percentage points from the previous quarter, the biggest jump in three years. The debt ratio held by non-financial corporates rose 5.8 percentage points. Leverage ratios for the household and government sectors were each up by about 1 percentage point. The data does not include bank loans to local government financing vehicles.
Plant gets rules extension
Malaysia granted a six-month extension to Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths Ltd to get its rare earth plant in line with environmental requirements. The deadline for the plant to be radiation-free has been extended to January next year, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang (鄭立慷) said. The Lynas rare earths refinery in Malaysia is the largest outside China, but has been dogged by environmental concerns and community opposition. The government in February issued a new three-year license to Lynas’s plant in the state of Pahang, with one of the conditions requiring that “cracking and leaching” of lanthanide concentrate move to an area outside of Malaysia by July 1. The business unit generates radioactive waste, authorities said.
Venture announces funds
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc plans to start two debt funds alongside Liquidity Capital with as much as US$400 million to provide financing for middle and later-stage start-ups in Japan and Europe. The funds would be established under Mars Growth Capital Pte, a joint venture between Japan’s largest bank and the Israeli tech lender, the companies said in a statement. The Japan fund would have a maximum of ￥20 billion (US$14.8 million) and the European fund up to US$250 million, they said. The move is the latest by Japan’s biggest banks to ramp up start-up finance, where they increasingly see potential for new business. Mars Growth Capital, based in Singapore, launched in 2021 and has been providing debt finance to start-ups in Asia and elsewhere.
STATE SUBSIDIES: The talks over a factory in Dresden have a top end on par with what Japan is offering TSMC and outdo a cap other firms are being offered in Europe Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, is in talks to receive German government subsidies for as much as 50 percent of the costs to build a new semiconductor fab in the country, people familiar with the matter said. The government is in ongoing negotiations with TSMC, as well as its partners on the project — Bosch Ltd, NXP Semiconductors NV and Infineon Technologies AG — the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. No final decisions have been made and the final subsidy amount could still change. Any state aid must also
South Korea would avoid capitalizing on China’s ban on a US chipmaker, seeing the move by Beijing as an attempt to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, a person familiar with the situation said. The South Korean government would not encourage its memorychip firms to grab market share in China lost by Micron Technology Inc, which has been barred for use in critical industries by Beijing on national security grounds, the person said. China is the biggest market for South Korea semiconductor firms Samsung Electronics Co and SK Hynix Inc and home to some of their factories. Their operations in China
GEOPOLITICAL RISKS: The company has a deep collaboration with TSMC, but it is also open to working with Samsung Electronics Co and Intel Corp, Nvidia’s CEO said Nvidia Corp, the world’s biggest artificial intelligence (AI) GPU supplier, yesterday said that it is diversifying its supply chain partners in order to enhance supply chain resilience amid geopolitical tensions. “All of our supply chain is designed for maximum diversity and redundancy so that we can have resilience. Our company is very big and so we have a lot of customers depending on us. And so our supply chain resilience is very important to us. We manufacture in as many places as we can,” Nvidia founder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said in response to a reporter’s question in
BIG MARKET: As growth in the number of devices and data traffic accelerates, it will not be possible to send everything to the cloud, a Qualcomm executive said Qualcomm Inc is betting the future of artificial intelligence (AI) will require more computing power than what the cloud alone can provide. The world’s largest maker of smartphone processors is transitioning from a communications company into an “intelligent edge computing” firm, Qualcomm senior vice president Alex Katouzian said. The edge in question is the mobile device that a user taps to access a network or service, and Katouzian used his time headlining one of the major keynote events at the Computex show in Taipei to make the case for how big a market that would be. The US company’s chips help smartphones harness