Exports drop 24 percent
Singapore’s key exports fell 24 percent last month from a year ago as shipments to the US and other main markets plunged amid the worldwide economic slump, the government said yesterday. It was the 10th straight month of decline in non-oil domestic exports, following the record 35 percent drop in January. Shipments to the city-state’s top 10 markets, except China, were down, monthly data released by the International Enterprise Singapore trade promotion body showed. Demand from the recession-hit US shrank the most as shipments fell 44.4 percent to S$1.03 billion (US$673 million), following a 50 percent decline in January.
ExxonMobil opens China hub
A subsidiary of global oil giant ExxonMobil Corp yesterday announced plans to build a technology center in China’s economic hub of Shanghai. Exxonmobil Chemical’s hub, which will have an initial investment of US$70 million and is expected to open next year, will provide technical advice and laboratory support to customers in Asia, the company said. ExxonMobil is expanding in China with a recent joint venture operating 750 service stations and another building and operating a petrochemical refinery in Fujian.
Alcoa to slash dividend
Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc said on Monday it planned to slash its quarterly dividend by 82 percent and sell US$1.1 billion in shares to bulk up its cash cushion amid the recession. The Pittsburgh-based company also said it planned to cut costs by more than US$2.4 billion annually by next year. Alcoa said its actions would reduce capital spending by an additional US$1 billion next year. The announcement, made after the market closed on Monday, follows news in January that Alcoa plans to lay off about 13 percent of its global work force by the end of 2009, further cut production and spending, and sell four of its subsidiaries.
AMD may lose chip license
Intel warned rival chipmaker AMD on Monday that its license to make personal-computer chips could be revoked because it spun out its manufacturing unit into a separate company. Intel first introduced its PC-compatible chips, which are based on the ubiquitous x86 architecture, in 1978 and later licensed to other companies. AMD manufactures the chips under a 2001 patent cross-licensing agreement, and AMD transferred the right to make x86 chips to its manufacturing spinoff GlobalFoundries, which Intel alleges violates terms of the original agreement. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, AMD rejected Intel’s claims.
Interest rates unchanged
Australia’s central bank said yesterday it unexpectedly left interest rates unchanged this month to “leave adequate flexibility” in the future, prompting economists to predict more rate cuts. The Reserve Bank of Australia board released minutes of its monthly meeting, where it left rates at a 45-year-low of 3.25 percent to end a sequence of seven straight cuts since last September. “Members believed this would leave adequate flexibility for policy at future meetings,” the minutes said. The bank has lowered rates from 7.25 percent since September and economists said they were unlikely to remain on hold for long after recent figures showing unemployment at a four-year high of 5.2 percent last month.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang