SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares shot up to near two-month highs on Monday on signs the United States and China were toning down their trade war rhetoric, while Malaysian Ringgit hit a four-month trough in the first onshore trade since a shock election result last week. A man looks […]
HSBC says performs first trade finance transaction using blockchain
HONG KONG (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) said on Monday it had performed the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain technology, a major step in boosting efficiency and reducing errors in the multi-trillion-dollar funding of international trade.
HSBC and Dutch bank ING successfully completed the transaction for food and agricultural group Cargill, the British lender said in a statement. The use of blockchain technology in the banking industry is expected to reduce the risk of fraud in letters of credit and other transactions as well as cut down on the number of steps used.
Letters of credit are one of the most widely used ways of reducing risk between importers and exporters, helping guarantee more than $2 trillion worth of transactions, but the process creates a long paper trail and takes between five and 10 days to exchange documentation.
Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine, has an image problem and its producers are seeking to rebrand it in a bid to put back the fizz into its sales.
“The problem with cava is perception, not quality,” says Josep Puig, general manager and CEO of Sumarroca winery.
“If the price is low it gives a bad perception.” He bemoans the fact that for years the larger cava houses have chased the mass market with low prices – it hasn’t worked out.
The UK sparkling wine market grew 37% between 2012 and 2016, but Spain’s cava is losing out to Italy’s prosecco.
The UK bought over seven million cases of prosecco in 2016, up 12% on the year before, compared to just under two million cases of cava, a drop of 15%.
And in a survey of Brits, when it came to quality, 64% chose champagne, 22% prosecco and just 14% cava.
More employees are approaching their managers with concerns around mental health, but most companies fail to offer appropriate training, new research has found. An Institute of Directors poll of 700 managers found four in ten had been approached by staff with such a concern. That was up from just over a quarter in 2017.
However, only 17% of firms offered mental health training for managers. Two thirds did not offer such training, while 17% said it was not applicable or did not know. The findings have been released to coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
When a group of friends proudly opened a restaurant, they didn’t expect someone to threaten to burn it down. But that is what happened when Htet Myet Oo and his three co-founders launched the Rangoon Tea House in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, in 2014.
Now 28, Htet Myet Oo had the idea of modernising Burmese food, and taking it upmarket. Yet while some thought the founders were mad, others were angry about the high prices and perceived gentrification. The hostility, including the threat of arson, came generally online.
“It was mainly Burmese people living abroad,” says Isabella Sway-Tin, his fiancee, who joined the business in its second year.
Thankfully, for the Rangoon Tea House, the storm passed. And from serving 60 customers a day in its first year, it now has an average of around 600 and 700.
The world’s two largest economies, the US and China, are in the midst of a trade spat that threatens to erupt into a full-scale trade war. US President Donald Trump launched the trade dispute by threatening to impose tens of billions of dollars of new tariffs on Chinese imports unless China cuts its tariffs, imports more American products, and gives US companies easier access to the Chinese market. Beijing has fired back with threats to impose billions of dollars of tariffs on US products.
Our Taipei correspondent Cindy Sui, who grew up in both China and the US, explores the Chinese psyche when it comes to trade, and how history has influenced this mindset. She offers clues as to how Washington and Beijing can learn to be better trade partners with each other:
Poor weather and a squeeze on hip pockets caused a slide in the number of people visiting shops last month. Footfall fell by 3.3% last month according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard. That was lower than the 6% decline in March, but was still an “unprecedented” 4.8% decline over the two month period. Diane Wehrle, of Springboard, said:
“Not since the depths of recession in 2009 has footfall over March and April declined to such a degree.”
“Even then the drop was less severe at minus 3.8%.”
New data also showed that the town centre vacancy rate rose to 9.2%, with all areas of the UK, except Greater London, reporting an increase. UK wage growth has trailed inflation for more than a year. Last month official figures for the three months to February showed that average wages rose by 2.8%, still below the 2.9% inflation rate using the consumer prices index (CPI) measure.
A husband-and-wife team has jumped on a business opportunity, putting together picture-perfect picnics for customers who want to spend on shared experiences.
Hundreds of companies face legal action after failing to meet an extended deadline to report their gender pay, Britain’s equality watchdog said. Companies with more than 250 staff must now publish the details on their own websites and on a government site. Many published details only after the Equality and Human Rights Commission began enforcement action last month.
EHRC head Rebecca Hilsenrath said there would be “zero tolerance” of firms that failed to comply. Ms Hilsenrath said in a statement: “Last month, we contacted almost 1,500 businesses to commence enforcement proceedings and as a result the number of employers facing investigation is now under 500.”
“Breach of these regulations is breaking the law and we’ve always been clear we will enforce with zero tolerance.”
NEW YORK/MUMBAI (Reuters) – Walmart Inc (WMT.N) said on Wednesday it will pay $16 billion for a roughly 77 percent stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart in its largest-ever deal, an effort to compete with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) in an important growth market.
Shares of the U.S. retailer fell 3 percent. The company warned it expects the deal to shave fiscal 2019 earnings by 25-30 cents per share if it closes in the second quarter. It also expects Indian investments to shave 60 cents per share from earnings in fiscal 2020.
For Walmart, the acquisition opens a new front in its battle with Amazon, which had expressed interest in making a competing offer for a stake. Amazon now holds about 27 percent of India’s burgeoning e-commerce market, according to Euromonitor, where Walmart only operates 21 cash-and-carry wholesale stores in the country that sell to businesses.