Bank lifts forecasts
The Reserve Bank of Australia yesterday lifted its inflation and wage growth forecasts while predicting that unemployment would remain under 4 percent through the middle of 2024. Headline inflation is expected to reach 7.75 percent by December, the central bank said in its quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy. The headline and core measures are predicted to remain well above the bank’s 2 to 3 percent target over the next year before hitting the top of its band at the end of the forecast period in December 2024. The outlook assumes the cash rate will rise to 3 percent by December from 1.85 percent at present and then “decline a little” by the end of 2024, it said.
Expansion beats estimates
The economy expanded better than estimates in the second quarter, powered by a commodity-led exports boom and robust spending that could nudge Bank Indonesia to begin its rate liftoff. GDP grew 5.44 percent in the three months to June from a year earlier, Statistics Indonesia said yesterday. That is the fastest increase in four quarters and beats the median estimate of a 5.17 percent gain in a Bloomberg survey. Compared with the previous quarter, GDP expanded 3.72 percent, beating the consensus for a 3.47 percent rise. Southeast Asia’s largest economy is steadily gaining momentum after a broader reopening that spurred mobility and travel especially during the Ramadan and Eid holidays. Growth in private consumption, which makes up more than half of domestic output, quickened to 5.51 percent last quarter from 4.34 percent in the January-March period.
FAO index declines
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) world price index declined again last month, edging further away from record highs in March. The index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 140.9 points last month versus a revised 154.3 for June. The June figure was previously put at 154.2. Last month’s index was still 13.1 percent higher than a year earlier, pushed up by the impact of the invasion of Ukraine, adverse weather, and high production and transport costs. A bleak global economic outlook, currency volatility and high fertilizer prices — which can affect future production and farmers’ livelihoods — all pose serious strains for global food security, FAO lead economist Maximo Torero said.
Alibaba avoids contraction
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) posted better results than many investors feared, avoiding a sharp sales contraction while signaling an improvement in Chinese consumer sentiment in the past few months. Revenue shrank for the first time on record in the June quarter, albeit by a fractional amount that was less than analysts projected. China’s e-commerce leader reported revenue of 205.6 billion yuan (US$30.4 billion) in the June quarter, enough to beat projections for 204 billion yuan. Net income fell 50 percent to 22.7 billion yuan, even after Alibaba trimmed losses at newer businesses such as local services and the cloud. Alibaba is still grappling with the fallout from nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns and a near-economic contraction in China. Still, consumption began recovering from June and quickened last month, Alibaba chief executive officer Daniel Zhang (張勇) said.
POTENTIAL SETBACK: Although Chinese chip designers and foundry firms already have US EDA software, they might be unable to update those programs under new US rules The US’ latest ban on advanced electronic design automation (EDA) software exports to China might hinder Chinese chip companies from accessing advanced semiconductor technology, as they attempt to upgrade to 3-nanometer processes in the next three to five years, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday. The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Friday announced bans on EDA tools for gate-all-around field-effect transistors (GAAFET), a new-generation semiconductor technology that US chipmaker Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co from South Korea are adopting to make 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer chips. The bureau in a statement said that gate-all-around field-effect transistor
WIDENING THE FIELD: Human resources managers must drop prejudices regarding gender, appearance and age to find the best candidates, Micro Technology said The job market for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry remained tight this quarter, as hiring activity slowed from a record high last quarter, a survey released yesterday by online human resource firm 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) showed. Ongoing labor shortages have prompted local semiconductor firms to recruit more women and foreigners in Taiwan and in Southeast Asia, the job bank said. The talent gap in the first quarter reached 35,000 people per month, a surge of 39.8 percent from the same period last year, as the contactless economy and digital transformation shore up demand for semiconductors, 104 Job Bank said in its annual report
POSITIVE CULTURE: Pursuing 12-inch wafers earlier than peers helped TSMC lead the industry, said a former executive, whose main regret was working for SMIC in China Corporate culture at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is what made the chipmaker a leading player in the global industry, a former executive said in an interview with California’s Computer History Museum. “One of the really important reasons that TSMC succeeded” is the culture at the firm, where “if equipment went down at two o’clock in the morning, we just called an equipment engineer,” and the worker would not complain, said former TSMC joint chief operating officer Chiang Shan-yi (蔣尚義). “We didn’t really do anything special, anything great, but we didn’t make any major mistakes,” when compared with competitors, such
DISMAL OUTLOOK: A Citigroup analyst predicted firms face ‘the worst semiconductor downturn in at least a decade,’ due to inventory build and the potential of a recession Semiconductor stocks tumbled after Micron Technology Inc became the latest chipmaker to warn about slowing demand, triggering concern that the industry is heading into a painful downturn. In the US on Tuesday, the Philadelphia semiconductor index sank 4.6 percent, with all 30 members in the red, its biggest drop in about two months. In Asia, chip stocks from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to Samsung Electronics Co, SK Hynix Inc and Tokyo Electron Ltd slumped. Investors are growing increasingly skittish as the notoriously cyclical industry is hurtling toward a prolonged slump after years of widespread shortages that led to heavy