US closes Silicon Valley Bank in biggest collapse since 2008

US regulators pulled the plug on Silicon Valley Bank on Friday in a spectacular move that sent global banking shares sputtering, as markets fretted over possible contagion from America’s biggest banking failure since the 2008 financial crisis. US authorities swooped in and seized the assets of SVB, a key lender to US startups since the 1980s, after a run on deposits made it no longer tenable for the medium-sized bank to stay afloat on its own. […]

URGENT: SVB shares halted after heavy sell-off in premarket trading

  Washington, United States | AFP | Shares in Silicon Valley Bank, a major lender to the tech industry, were halted Friday morning after a sharp sell-off in premarket trading. The move came as the world’s biggest banks took a stock market beating after trouble at SVB sparked concerns over the wider sector. SVB shares tumbled more than 60 percent on Thursday after the company warned it would need to raise additional funds to help […]

Global bank shares sink over US fears

Paris, France | AFP | by Laurent THOMET The world’s biggest banks took a stock market beating on Friday as trouble at a US regional lender sparked concerns over the wider sector. The four biggest US banks lost a whopping $52 billion in market value on Thursday after shares in SVB Financial, a major lender to the tech industry, sank by 60 percent. SVB Financial spooked the markets after announcing a stock offering and offloading […]

Americans buying more vinyl than CDs for first time in decades

Vinyl records continued to translate their retro appeal into a steady resurgence, outselling compact discs last year in terms of units in the United States for the first time since 1987. Revenues from the sale of physical records jumped four percent in 2022 to $1.7 billion, according to the latest report from the Recording Industry Association of America released Thursday. Consumers snagged 41 million vinyl units last year compared to 33 million CDs, an eye-popping […]

Asian markets start positively, China shares slump

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets mostly rose on Monday over murmurs that the US Federal Reserve may loosen its monetary tightening but stocks in Hong Kong and China fell after Beijing announced its lowest economic growth target in decades. Traders in Tokyo appeared bullish about positive news flowing in from the United States where Wall Street had rallied on Friday. An end-of-week slide in Treasury bond yields fortified beliefs that the Federal Reserve […]

Vaccine maker Novavax says ‘substantial doubt’ over future

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Covid-19 vaccine maker Novavax raised doubts Tuesday about its ability to continue its business, announcing plans to cut spending after struggles in rolling out its coronavirus jab. Shares of Novavax plummeted 25 percent in extended trading, after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates. While the firm should have enough money to fund operations, the situation is “subject to significant uncertainty,” it said in a statement. “Given these […]

North Korea’s Kim opens key meeting on agriculture

Seoul, South Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has opened a key party meeting to discuss agricultural development, state media said Monday, following a report of “grave” food shortages in the isolated country. Normally such meetings are convened only once or twice a year, but the plenary comes just two months after a previous one, which also focused on agricultural issues. The unusual frequency of the meetings focused on agriculture has fuelled […]

Blame the warmth: Famed skating rink in Ottawa won’t open this year

Montreal, Canada | AFP | The Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest open-air ice rink and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will not open this year for the first time in its history because of a mild winter, managers confirmed Friday. “Despite our best efforts, the weather got the best of us for the first time in our history,” the Ottawa facility said on its Twitter account. “We share everyone’s disappointment,” it added in a […]

Facebook, Instagram roll out paid subscription in Australia, New Zealand

  Facebook and Instagram began a week-long rollout of their first paid verification service on Friday, testing users’ willingness to pay for social media features that until now have been free. Facing a drop in advertising revenues, parent company Meta is piloting a subscription in Australia and New Zealand before it appears in larger markets. The service will cost US$11.99 on the web and US$14.99 on the iOS and Android mobile platforms. From Friday, subscribers […]

Bank of Japan’s next chief says monetary easing ‘appropriate’

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The Bank of Japan’s long-standing monetary easing policies are “appropriate”, its next governor Kazuo Ueda told parliament on Friday, suggesting no sudden changes to the bank’s stance when he takes the helm in April. Under current boss Karuhiko Kuroda, the bank has unleashed a raft of extraordinary ultra-loose policies — from a negative interest rate to spending vast sums on government bonds — in a bid to boost the sluggish economy. […]

Dubai housing boom buoys buyers, burdens tenants

by Sahar Al Attar Agence France Presse Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — With rents soaring and properties selling fast, the expatriate hub of Dubai is in the throes of a housing boom bolstered by rich emigres that has buoyed investors and burdened tenants. Dubai, renowned for its towering skyscrapers and ultra-luxury villas, saw record real estate transactions in 2022, largely due to the influx of wealthy investors — especially from Russia. That helped to […]

BTS agency becomes biggest shareholder of K-pop industry rival SM

Seoul, South Korea | AFP | Wednesday 2/22/2023 K-pop supergroup BTS’ management agency HYBE said Wednesday it had become the biggest shareholder of embattled rival SM Entertainment, whose founder has been mired in an ugly power struggle within his company. SM was founded by Lee Soo-man, who is widely referred to as “the godfather of K-pop” and credited for producing key figures in an earlier generation of artists such as BoA, Girls’ Generation and TVXQ, […]