TURKEY

Lira falls to record low

The lira on Monday dropped to record lows after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend ordered the expulsion of the ambassadors of 10 countries, including Germany and the US. The envoys had angered the president in calling for the release of Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala, who has been in prison since 2017 without a conviction. The lira fell to 9.80 against the US dollar before rallying slightly to 9.73, a drop of 1.3 percent from the previous day. The lira has fallen about 24 percent against the US dollar since the start of the year.

JAPAN

Japan Post to issue shares

The government said that it plans to sell ¥843 billion (US$7.42 billion) of shares in Japan Post Holdings Co in the ongoing privatization of the postal and financial-services giant six years after its initial public offering. The price of Japan Post’s secondary share sale was set at ¥820.6 per share, marking a 2 percent discount on Monday’s closing price of ¥837.4. The government is offloading about 1 billion shares to Japanese and overseas investors, and the company also plans to buy back up to ¥100 billion in shares, or 3.5 percent of the outstanding amount.

CHINA

Economic forecast cut

The country’s economy next year is likely to expand 5.2 percent, down from a previous projection of 5.6 percent, as the government sticks to its long-term policy objectives, such as reducing property debt, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said. Weaker GDP growth and faster inflation in the third quarter were policy-driven and likely temporary, with Goldman expecting a sequential pickup in growth in the fourth quarter, a note said yesterday. On an annual basis, growth this quarter is expected to slow to 3.1 percent, it said. “The long-term policy direction, such as property deleveraging, remains unchanged as evidenced by the latest news on starting property tax trials in select cities,” Goldman said.

TECHNOLOGY

Pinterest deal fizzles out

PayPal Holdings Inc yesterday said that it is not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest Inc, ending days of speculation over a potential US$45 billion deal. PayPal had approached Pinterest about a potential deal, Bloomberg News reported last week. The companies discussed a price of about US$70 per share, people with knowledge of the matter said, a price that would have valued Pinterest at about US$45 billion. “In response to market rumors regarding a potential acquisition of Pinterest by PayPal, PayPal stated that it is not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time,” the firm said in a one-sentence statement.

FOOD SAFETY

Biscuit shares slide

Shares of Hup Seng Industries Bhd had their biggest intraday drop in 19 months, following findings by Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog that cancer-causing substances were detected in biscuits and crackers, including those made by the Malaysian company. The stock slid as much as 3.9 percent, the most since March last year, and was traded at 87.5 sen at 3:55pm in Kuala Lumpur. The Hong Kong Consumer Council last week announced that 60 samples of the pre-packed biscuits and crackers that it tested contained cancer-inducing elements, such as glycidol or acrylamide. The council also found that 40 percent of the products analyzed had misleading nutrition labels.

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