Australian central bank raises interest rates to 4.35% as inflation persists
The Reserve Bank of Australia has raised interest rates for the first time in five months as persistent inflation has forced its hand.
The bank opted to increase interest rates by 25 basis points to 4.35 per cent.
It was the first increase under Michele Bullock, who was promoted to RBA governor, replacing Philip Lowe in September, but was widely anticipated as inflation data and consumer spending had risen over the past month.
Analysts had put an 80 per cent chance on the prospect of a rise. That returned the bank to a tightening policy that saw it raise the cost of borrowing 12 times in little more than a year.
WeWork files for bankruptcy protection amid office space downturn
WeWork has filed for bankruptcy protection, a humbling fall for the co-working start-up co-founded by Adam Neumann and backed by billions of dollars from Japan’s SoftBank.
The company that set out to revolutionise office real estate could not outrun the combined forces of pricey leases it had signed before the Covid-19 pandemic and weak occupancy rates as hybrid working gained popularity.
WeWork said it had struck an agreement with nearly all its creditors to convert $3bn of existing loans and bonds into equity of the reorganised company. The Chapter 11 process also allows WeWork to terminate leases early with little financial penalty. It is seeking to restructure its more than $13bn in lease obligations.
Read more about WeWork here.
Asian equities dip over concerns about Fed’s monetary policies
Asian equities declined on Tuesday as confidence that the US Federal Reserve would pause its monetary tightening campaign petered out and traders looked ahead to Chinese export-import figures.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.8 per cent, China’s CSI 300 shed 0.2 per cent and Japan’s Topix fell 0.5 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi fell 2 per cent, having gained on Monday after the financial regulator temporarily banned short selling.
Asian markets rose on Monday after weaker than expected US jobs data firmed speculation that the US was done with lifting rates this year. But those expectations softened during US trading ahead of a series of speeches from Fed officials this week.
China releases its October trade figures later on Tuesday.
Peru foreign minister steps down over failure to achieve Biden meeting
Peru’s foreign minister has resigned after failing to secure a meeting between President Dina Boluarte and US counterpart Joe Biden during a visit to Washington.
Ana Cecilia Gervasi led the ministry for less than a year, and was one of her president’s most vocal defenders after the deaths of dozens of protesters in anti-government demonstrations at the beginning of the year.
Congress has summoned Gervasi to explain why Boluarte’s recent trip did not include a bilateral meeting with Biden. Lima’s ambassador to the US, Gustavo Meza Cuadra, also stepped down on Monday.
Political turnover has been a feature of Peruvian politics with six presidents in the past five years.
What to watch in Asia today
Events: Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa hosts her G7 counterparts in Tokyo for two days of meetings. Foreign and defence ministers of Japan and the UK will hold bilateral meetings during the summit. The Reserve Bank of Australia holds an interest rates meeting. Westpac chief economist Luci Ellis expects the cash rate to rise by a quarter-point to 4.35 per cent. Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese concludes a four-day visit to China. Mongolian president Khürelsükh Ukhnaa concludes a three-day trip to Laos.
Economic indicators: China announces October trade figures. Japan releases labour and household spending data for September. Japan Automobile Dealers Association provides new motor vehicle sales figures for October. The Philippines issues October inflation data.
Corporate results: Japanese companies reporting second-quarter earnings include Daikin, Mazda Motor, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Nintendo, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Sony and Suzuki Motor. South Korea’s Coupang announces third-quarter figures and Singapore Airlines reports for the second quarter.
Ecuador’s president-elect taps little-known economist as finance minister
Ecuador’s centre-right president-elect Daniel Noboa has tapped Sariha Moya, a relatively unknown economist, to be his finance minister when he takes office next month.
Both are 35 years old, suggesting the millennial business heir will continue to focus on boosting youth prospects as he promised during the campaign.
Moya, who has spent most of her career in public office, previously worked at the country’s planning and development secretariat and at the finance ministry. She joined Noboa in a meeting with the IMF in Washington over the weekend.
Noboa takes office next month after narrowly winning a snap election in October, though his term will probably be dominated by a campaign for re-election in 2025.
Dish shares plunge by record on surprise loss ahead of EchoStar merger
Shares of Dish Network notched a record one-day drop after the cable television company missed Wall Street expectations, even as it races to complete a $4bn merger with satellite network group EchoStar.
Dish swung to a surprise loss of 26 cents a share, falling short of analysts’ forecasts for earnings of 5 cents a share, according to a LSEG poll, while revenues of $3.7bn narrowly missed expectations.
The pay-TV company is one of several in its sector that has struggled to hold on to subscribers as streaming options proliferated in the past decade.
Dish shares plunged to 37.4 per cent on Monday to close at a 25-year low, and leaving them down by three-quarters in 2023.
Wall Street extends winning streak thanks to late rally in tech stocks
US stock indices notched some of their longest winning streaks this year as a late rally for tech stocks helped Wall Street’s main indices swing into positive territory on Monday and extend their multi-day runs.
The benchmark S&P 500 closed 0.2 per cent higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.3 per cent. Tech stocks rallied in the afternoon, with all of the Magnificent Seven stocks except Tesla making gains.
The S&P 500 has now closed higher for six consecutive sessions, its longest winning streak since mid-June, while a seven-day run for the Nasdaq is its longest since early January.
OpenAI set to launch store as ChatGPT reaches 100mn users
OpenAI is launching custom versions of ChatGPT that can be adapted and tailored for specific applications, turning the chatbot interface into a digital platform such as iOS or Android.
Known as GPTs, the tools can be built using plain English for cases such as tutoring a child in maths, creating a travel concierge or designing a website. The Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence company led by Sam Altman, chief executive, said it planned to launch a GPT Store in the coming weeks, to collate the best apps, and eventually split revenues with the most popular GPT creators.
Read more about the OpenAI expansion here.
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