News

What to watch in Asia today

China: The People’s Bank of China is scheduled to publish its latest policy rates. Analysts polled by Reuters expect lending benchmarks to be cut for the first time in 10 months amid a slowing post-Covid recovery. Last week the central bank unexpectedly cut a key short-term rate and announced tax breaks for businesses. The seven-day reverse repo rate was reduced by 10 basis points to 1.9 per cent. Nomura analysts said they expect two more rounds of rate cuts at 10bp each this year.

Economic data: Japan issues industrial production numbers for April. Hong Kong presents its consumer price index for May. New Zealand publishes second-quarter consumer sentiment figures.

Events: Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi leaves Tokyo for a visit to the UK and France. The IMD World Competitiveness Center launches its annual ranking of countries. Indonesia’s central bank begins a three-day board of governors’ meeting.

Corporate results: Hong Kong beverage manufacturer Vitasoy publishes fourth-quarter earnings.

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EU ministers deadlocked on reforms to electricity market

EU countries have failed to approve a crucial overhaul of the bloc’s energy market because of disagreements between France and Germany on state aid for power producers.

Energy ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday were due to find a common position on a reform of the market that would pave the way for the uptake of cleaner power and prevent price volatility.

But Paris and Berlin remained at loggerheads over whether state-backed contracts that ensure electricity producers only charge a set price for power and return additional profits should be applied to existing operators — a move that would allow France to subsidise nuclear more easily.

Read more about the EU energy market.

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Airbus strikes record deal to sell 500 planes to India’s IndiGo

Airbus has secured the biggest aircraft order in history after sealing a multibillion-dollar deal to sell 500 narrow-body planes to India’s IndiGo.

The deal for Airbus’s A320 family of jets is the largest by number of aircraft and surpasses rival Air India’s order for 470 Airbus and Boeing aircraft placed in February. It is also bigger than IndiGo’s current fleet of 300 aircraft.

The world’s largest plane maker did not disclose the financial details of the deal announced on the first day of the biennial Paris Air Show, which is meeting for the first time after a four-year gap amid resurgent passenger demand. 

Read more about the IndiGo deal.

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UK warned against being ‘overly reliant’ on Chinese EV batteries

Britain must avoid becoming “overly reliant” on Chinese battery technology for electric vehicles, business secretary Kemi Badenoch said on Monday.

The warning came as the government is involved in finalising an expected deal between China’s Envision and Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors to build in Somerset what would be only the second significant UK factory for electric car batteries.

The deal with India’s Tata, which is expected within weeks, would provide a big boost to the UK’s car industry, which is struggling to attract investments from battery manufacturers, but would also leave the sector heavily reliant on Envision.

Read more about the UK and battery technology.

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