Japan unveils record $490 billion stimulus to boost pandemic recovery

by Kyoko HASEGAWA TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a record $490 billion stimulus for the world’s third-largest economy Friday as he looks to shore up the country’s patchy pandemic recovery. The 56 trillion yen injection, the third since the Covid crisis struck last year and expected to be approved by the cabinet later in the day, “is enough to deliver a sense of safety and hope to the Japanese people”, […]

Japan prices rise for second month

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s core consumer prices rose slightly year-on-year in October for the second month running, driven in part by higher fuel prices, government data showed Friday. The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes fuel costs, was up 0.1 percent in October, tracking the same rise in September and in line with economist expectations. The second monthly rise follows 18 months of declines or stagnation during the […]

HSBC chief backs Hong Kong’s coronavirus isolation

SINGAPORE (AFP) — The boss of Asia-focused lending giant HSBC backed Hong Kong’s decision to mirror China’s zero-Covid strategy on Thursday despite rising concern within the finance industry over the business hub’s international isolation. Hong Kong has maintained some of the world’s harshest quarantine measures and travel restrictions during the pandemic. The strategy has kept infections low but ensured a business hub that dubs itself “Asia’s World City” has been cut off internationally for the […]

FedEx relocates pilots from Hong Kong over city quarantine rules

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Global delivery giant FedEx said Wednesday it was closing its crew base in Hong Kong and relocating pilots overseas because of the city’s strict anti-coronavirus measures. The move is the latest blow to Hong Kong’s reputation as a global logistics hub as strict travel curbs and mandatory quarantine rules keep the city cut off from the rest of the world. “As the global business environment continues to evolve and […]

Uber resumes shared rides in US

  SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Ride-hailing giant Uber has resumed its ride-sharing service in the United States, a top executive announced Tuesday, offering customers in Miami a feature that was stopped last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The UberX Share option — formerly called Uber Pool — allows people to share rides with strangers at a reduced cost, and builds in precautions against the spread of the coronavirus. “609 days later, shared […]

Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna making $1,000 profit every second: analysis

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are making combined profits of $65,000 every minute from their highly successful Covid-19 vaccines while the world’s poorest countries remain largely unvaccinated, according to a new analysis. The companies have sold the vast majority of their doses to rich countries, leaving low-income nations in the lurch, said the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA), a coalition campaigning for wider access to Covid vaccines, which based its calculations on […]

Asian markets steady with focus on inflation, Biden-Xi summit

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian investors trod a cautious path Tuesday, with surging inflation the key point of concern on trading floors, while eyes were also on a virtual summit between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping as they plot their way through a period of tension between the superpowers. Global markets have enjoyed about 18 months of healthy gains — with many hitting record or multi-year highs — thanks to ultra-loose central bank monetary […]

Thai economy shrinks, hopes for tourism-led recovery

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thailand’s economy shrank in the third quarter, official data showed Monday, but hopes for a gradual recovery are picking up following this month’s return of foreign tourists after the kingdom’s reopening. The country last year suffered its worst performance since the Asian financial crisis of 1997 with a 6.1 percent economic contraction. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said gross domestic product shrank 0.3 percent year-on-year […]

Covid hit Japan economy harder than expected in third quarter

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s economy shrank far more than expected in the three months to September, as a surge in virus cases hit spending and supply chain issues hampered business, data showed Monday. The world’s third largest economy shrank 0.8 percent quarter-on-quarter, much worse than the 0.2 percent economists had forecast. The contraction was driven in part by a 1.2 percent dip in household consumption that tracked the imposition of a virus state of […]

OPEC cuts world oil demand forecast for 2021

PARIS, France (AFP) — OPEC lowered its world oil demand forecast for 2021 on Thursday, citing weaker demand in major consumers China and India, and an expected hit from high energy prices. In a monthly report, the cartel of major oil producers cut its forecast by around 160,000 barrels per day. Global demand for 2021 is now forecast to reach 96.4 million barrels per day. “Revisions were mainly to account for slower than anticipated demand […]

Elon Musk sells $1.1 billion in Tesla shares

  NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold approximately $1.1 billion in shares of his electric car company, after indicating over the weekend he would sell 10 percent of his stock based on the results of a Twitter poll. However the sell was put in motion on September 14, according to documents filed Wednesday, meaning it was not spurred by the survey’s outcome. Musk, the world’s richest man, sold about 930,000 […]

Philippine economic growth beats forecasts in third quarter

  MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — The Philippine economy grew more than expected in the third quarter, the government said Tuesday, as a rebound in consumer spending overcame pandemic lockdowns and other restrictions to rein in the fast-spreading Covid delta variant. Gross domestic product expanded 7.1 percent, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, better than the 4.9 percent predicted in a Bloomberg survey and following a blockbuster 12 percent rate in the previous three months. The […]