Outsourcing head bullish
The nation’s US$26 billion outsourcing industry expects to continue growing, despite the risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, but sees a three-year government support plan as key to boosting its competitiveness. The industry has shown a “tremendous resilience,” IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines president and chief executive Rey Untal said in an interview in Manila. “We are cautiously optimistic of sustaining some level of growth for this industry in the near future.” With a high level of English proficiency, a young population and cheap labor, the nation has been one of the global leaders in business-process outsourcing. Outsourcing revenue, a key pillar of the economy, rose 7.1 percent last year, association data showed. The association has penciled in 3.5 percent to 7.5 percent annual growth through 2022.
Consumer prices decline
Key consumer prices last month fell at a slightly slower pace, but failed to log gains for a sixth straight month, with economists expecting worse to come. A gauge of prices excluding fresh food fell 0.3 percent year-on-year, largely reflecting the impact of government travel subsidies, following a 0.4 percent drop in August, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said yesterday. Analysts had forecast a 0.4 percent decline. While the latest data might help ease concerns of a descent into longer-term deflation, additional factors are expected to weigh on prices from next month. The central bank next week is likely to consider slightly adjusting its inflation forecasts to reflect the short-term downward impact on prices of the travel subsidies, people familiar with the matter said.
Largest-ever US fine agreed
Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay US$2.9 billion in penalties to settle criminal charges in the 1MDB Malaysian bribery scandal, the largest US fine ever in a corruption case, the US Department of Justice Department said on Thursday. Acting US Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt said that Goldman Sachs “accepted responsibility” in the case that involved US$1.6 billion in bribes, the largest ever recorded, and massive gains laundered through the US financial system. Goldman Sachs helped raise US$6.5 billion for the Malaysian government’s sovereign wealth fund. The justice department has said that more than US$4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by high-level officials at the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2015. The investment fund “was looted by corrupt officials and their co-conspirators, including senior Goldman bankers” turning it “into a piggy bank for corrupt public officials and their cronies,” Rabbitt said at a news conference.
Traders defy pandemic
Traders at Barclays PLC had another strong quarter as COVID-19 pandemic-driven market volatility persisted. The London-based bank’s securities division reported a 23 percent jump in foreign-exchange, rates and credit trading income in the third quarter, helping the bank beat earnings estimates. Equity trading income jumped 40 percent. Barclays also posted lower-than-expected impairments from the pandemic. Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said that the bank was weathering the crisis “with strong income performance in our corporate and investment bank more than offsetting headwinds in our consumer businesses.” Total trading income jumped 29 percent. The consumer business also benefited from a pickup in mortgage demand, swinging back to profit.
SETTING AN EXAMPLE: The commission suspended the bank’s two top executives as ‘a warning to all banks,’ while the fine is the biggest to be given to a bank in a single case The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined E.Sun Commercial Bank (玉山銀行) NT$20 million (US$693,698) over a theft scandal and punished the bank’s two top executives. A customer relationship manager surnamed Pan (潘) at the bank’s branch in Kaohsiung’s Fengshan District (鳳山) stole NT$140 million from 41 clients over the past seven years, the commission said. Pan secretly transferred the stolen money to accounts belonging to her and her family members by using clients’ debit cards, passwords or documents that were stamped using the clients’ personal stamps between July 2013 and June this year, the commission said. The commission suspended Ben Chen (陳炳良), the
HARD ASK: At a meeting held by the MOEA to talk about the RCEP trade deal, trade associations said that they expect the government to push for more free-trade deals Business representatives yesterday urged the government to slow the appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar, saying that some Taiwanese industries have been undercut by rivals due to unfavorable foreign exchange rates. The government should also assist local industries to expand their domestic market, and push for more bilateral trade deals so that Taiwanese companies can enjoy zero or preferential tariffs on exports, following the nation’s exclusion from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which was signed by 15 Asia-Pacific nations on Nov. 15, they said at a meeting with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Some participants said that the NT dollar’s
Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to remain the third-largest IC supplier this year, unchanged from last year, IC Insights said yesterday. IC designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) is expected to become the 11th-largest, up from 16th last year, the semiconductor market research firm said. TSMC is expected to post US$45.42 billion in sales, up 31 percent from last year, IC Insights said in a report released on its Web site. TSMC’s sales growth is largely due to a surge in orders from Apple Inc and HiSilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體) — two of its major clients — which
BREATH OF LIFE: The firm said the under-utilized plant should start mass production in the first quarter, timed to coincide with Intel Corp’s release of its Ice Lake server chip Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) plans to assemble key components for Google servers at its plant in Wisconsin, people familiar with the matter said, finally breathing life into a factory that US President Donald Trump hailed as crucial to bringing manufacturing back to the US. The company has decided to locate production for this new contract at the existing complex rather than make the components at home or in China, the people said, asking not to be identified. The under-utilized plant should start mass production in the first quarter, timed with the release of Intel Corp’s Ice Lake server chips,