Saturday, November 18th, 2017

 

‘Eurovision’ contest for London-based regulators

BRUSSELS, Nov 18 — Things are rarely simple in the EU’s complex bureaucracy, but the procedure for choosing new host cities for two London-based regulatory agencies after Brexit is one of its most fiendish inventions yet. European affairs…


(Video) Tesla’s all-electric semi truck aims to disrupt transport

HAWTHORNE, United States: After shaking up the auto world with its electric cars, Tesla is tackling a new frontier in “green” transportation with the unveiling of a futuristic all-electric semi truck.

Elon Musk, the South African-born inventor and entrepreneur, showcased the new vehicle Thursday in Hawthorne, California, site of Tesla's design bureau and the headquarters of the billionaire's aerospace company SpaceX.

With a sleek, aerodynamic profile, the Tesla Semi is billed as quicker and more economical than today's diesel-powered trucks.

“We designed the Tesla truck to be like a bullet,” said Musk, Tesla's co-founder and chief executive who aims to start production in 2019 with deliveries by 2020 — although some analysts expressed caution over Tesla's ability to meet its own timetable.

With four independent electric motors and a transmission that requires no shifting of gears, the Semi can accelerate to 100km per hour in five seconds — reaching that speed in 20 seconds while hauling a maximum 36,000kg load, much faster than a traditional diesel truck, Tesla says.

Most crucially, it can travel 800km between charges, more than double the length of most truck routes, 80% of which, according to Musk, are 250 miles or less.

“So it means you can go to your destination and back without recharging,” he said.

Tesla claims its Semi, which could be recharged at the firm's 1,000 free Supercharger stations worldwide, can save 20% over conventional transport rigs with fuel and insurance factored in — while delivering a “better experience” for truck drivers through its cab design.

With no front engine or gear shift to accommodate, the driver's seat is positioned in the centre of a panoramic windshield, with a dominating view of the road.

Instead of the traditional console, there are touch screens for navigation, music and traffic data.

Inside, the cab has enough head and legroom to stand up and walk around. The traditional second front seat is relegated to the back of the cab as a jump seat.

The Semi also uses some of the same navigation aids as Tesla's Model 3 sedan, such as cameras, and sensors designed to minimize blind spots, abrupt lane changes and emergency stops.

Bumps in the road?

But despite the truck's glitzy debut, some analysts warned it remains unclear if or when Tesla can deliver on its promises.

“We've come to expect very forward-thinking products from Tesla,” said Rebecca Lindland, analyst for the auto research firm Kelley Blue Book who said the Tesla Semi concept “makes a lot of sense” for vehicles with predictable routes like garbage trucks or school buses.

Lindland added however that Musk “is not great at keeping deadlines” and that “we need to add weeks, months or years” to his timetable.

Another concern is that Tesla is bleeding cash as it invests in new vehicles like the Model 3, a more affordable electric sedan.

The pace of production of the Model 3, for instance, is way behind target, peaking at 500 to 1,000 a week instead of a promised 5,000.

“Wall Street continues to be very tolerant of Elon Musk's strategy, as they consider it a tech company and not an automobile manufacturing company,” Lindland said.

“But there will come a time when investors won't be as tolerant and will need to start seeing profits.”

'Green' trucks

Joseph Spak of RBC Capital Markets said he was impressed by the truck, saying its specifications “exceeded expectations.”

“While Tesla has had challenges meeting deadlines, it does eventually get there,” Spak said in a research note. “As such, expect the topic of the electrification of (cargo trucks) and Tesla's disruption of that segment to step up.”

Tesla's Semi is arriving at a time when a variety of automakers — Daimler, Volkswagen, Nikola, Einride — are also developing electric truck prototypes, some equipped with autonomous driving functions and futuristic designs.

Experts note that heavy goods vehicles and buses already are being powered by alternative energy sources like hydrogen batteries or natural gas.

Tesla has not given out details on how much the trucks will cost or where they will be built. — AFP

Watch Tech Insider's video of the unveiling here :


Siemens workers vow fightback against Germany job cull

BERLIN: Hundreds of angry Siemens workers protested at the industrial behemoth's historic Berlin factory Friday, in the first revolt against a mass jobs cull that unions have vowed to resist with all their might.

“We are Siemens and we aren't going anywhere,” the crowd chanted, a day after the firm announced it would slash some 6,900 positions globally, mainly at its troubled power and gas unit.

Germany will account for almost half of the job losses.

Nearly 600 jobs will disappear in the German capital alone, including at the sprawling Dynamowerk site which, among other things, makes the huge gas turbines that have fallen out of favour as countries switch to renewable energy.

The demo was called by Germany's powerful IG Metall union, which has slammed the layoffs as “unacceptable” and pledged to put up fierce resistance.

“We will take to the streets and we expect the mobilisation to be spectacular because you can see the level of solidarity between the employees,” union member Kris told AFP, declining to give his last name.

“I can tell you that the mood in the meetings is very combative,” he added, sporting the union's red jacket emblazoned with the slogan “Siemens metal workers. We fight like bears”.

Siemens unveiled the layoffs as part of a major overhaul as it grapples with falling orders in a changing energy landscape.

But the “painful cuts” Siemens says are necessary have sparked outrage after the conglomerate — which also makes trains, wind turbines and medical equipment — only last week reported flourishing financial results.

Net profit for 2016-2017 rose by 11 percent year-on-year to 6.2 billion euros, it said.

As well as the layoffs in Germany, Siemens plans to close its sites in Goerlitz and Leipzig, both in the country's economically weaker former communist east.

Some 1,100 jobs are also set to go in the rest of Europe, while the United States will see 1,800 layoffs.

Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party that is set to go into the opposition after September's general election, called the job cuts an “outright scandal”.

“It's a slap in the face for all those employees who worked so hard for the company and its profits.” — AFP


India raises import tax on edible oils to highest in a decade

MUMBAI, Nov 18 — India has raised import tax on edible oil to the highest level in more than a decade, the government said in an order, as the world’s biggest importer of edible oils tries to support its farmers. The duty increase will lift…


Can Bitcoin survive central banks’ scrutiny?

  KUALA LUMPUR:  With threats of serious financial crime looming with the emergence of new technologies, including cryptocurrencies, can bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks globally? Amid growing warnings of a market bubble, central banks, such as that of China, have restricted cryptocurrencies trading, which sent the virtual currency dropping as much as 40 per cent since […]


Despite Amazon, brick stores are not dead yet

NEW YORK, Nov 18 ­— Just in time for the Black Friday kick-off to holiday season shopping, stock market investors have been handed tools to bet on the decline of brick-and-mortar retail. As of yesterday, these tools were not yet for sale on…


India hikes import duty on Malaysian CPO

KUALA LUMPUR: The Indian government has raised the import duty on Malaysian crude palm oil (CPO) to 15% from 7.5% previously, in order to control cheaper shipments and to support its local refiners.

Similarly, the import tax on soya and sunflower have been raised to 17.5% and 12.5%, respectively.

Phillip Futures Sdn Bhd Senior Derivatives Product Specialist David Ng said the move by the Indian government to hike import duty was due to the fall in the prices of oilseeds below the minimum support price.

“But, this move will dampen our exports to the India which currently stood at 2.5 million tonnes. We will likely see reduced CPO exports to India because of the increase in import tax,” he told Bernama.

It was reported on July 27, that an inter-ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had reviewed edible oil availability in the country and discussed ways to deal with rising imports.

A committee was set up by the Indian government to look into the import duty structure and to check cheap cooking oil shipments.

India imported about 14.5 million tonnes of vegetable oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, annually, to meet its domestic demand for edible oil.

Indonesia and Malaysia together, account for 85% of the world's CPO output and 91% of total global palm oil exports. — Bernama


GDP growth to support Ringgit’s trading next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is expected to continue its upward momentum against the US dollar next week, propelled by Malaysia's third-quarter gross domestic product growth as well as the possibility of the central bank revising the overnight policy rate (OPR).

The Malaysian economy grew at a faster pace of 6.2% in the Q3, 2017 compared with 4.3% recorded in the same quarter last year.

Affin Hwang Investment Bank Vice-President and Head of Retail Research Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the ringgit might hover around 4.10 against the greenback next week due to positive domestic factors.

Most analysts and economists are projecting the central bank to revise the OPR in the first quarter of next year.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit had strengthened 300 basis points to 4.1600/1630 against the greenback from 4.1900/1930 last Friday.

Against other major currencies, the ringgit was traded.

It rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.0656/0685 from 3.0804/0835 but eased against the British pound to 5.5120/5168 from 5.5099/5155 last Friday.

It depreciated versus the Japanese yen to 3.6961/6998 from 3.6952/6988 and depreciated vis-a-vis the euro to 4.9055/9103 from 4.8855/8899, previously. – Bernama


Strong 3Q GDP to boost sentiment on Bursa M’sia

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia is expected to trade firmer next week, taking the cue from the encouraging gross domestic product (GDP) data released last Friday.

Affin Hwang Investment Bank Vice-President/Head of Retail Research Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the 6.2% GDP growth, deemed as the strongest growth over the past three years, would boost investors' appetite on the local bourse.

“The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) would likely touch the 1,740 points level next week,” he told Bernama.

Bank Negara Malaysia said, in a statement, that given the continued strong performance in 3Q17, Malaysia's economy was on course to register close to the upper range of the official projection of 5.2 to 5.7% in 2017, supported by domestic demand.

Meanwhile, Nazri Khan said traditionally, the local market benchmark would trend higher beginning from Nov to Feb due to some window-dressing activities.

“Furthermore, the Bandar Malaysia project, which the government was widely anticipated to award later this year, would serve as a big catalyst for the local market,” he said.

It was reported that all agreements related to the mega project would likely be signed before the general election, due in 2018.

On a weekly basis, the benchmark FBM KLCI, however, fell 20.62 points to 1,721.66 from 1,742.28 last Friday.

The FBM Emas Index declined 164.57 points to 12,416.92, the FBMT 100 Index shed 155.41 points to 12,063.28, the FBM Emas Shariah Index dipped 351.86 points to 12,857.86 and the FBM 70 was 237.72 points weaker at 15,311.15 but the FBM Ace surged 762.86 points to 6,591.58.

On a sectoral basis, the Finance Index lost 178.35 points to 16,051.37, the Plantation Index erased 107.48 points to 7,908.53 and the Industrial Index fell 63.78 points to 3,137.97.

Total turnover narrowed to 12.87 billion units, valued at RM11.83 billion, from 14.82 billion units, worth RM11.36 billion, recorded last Friday.

Main Market volume fell to 8.33 billion shares, worth RM10.98 billion, from 9.34 billion shares, valued at RM10.50 billion, registered previously.

Warrants' turnover eased slightly to 1.20 billion shares, worth RM144.62 million, versus last week's 1.21 billion shares worth RM117.88 million.

The ACE Market weakened to 3.28 billion units, valued at RM686.84 million, against 4.18 billion units, valued at RM698.21 million, transacted previously. – Bernama


Oil rises over 2pc, but shows first weekly fall in six

NEW YORK, Nov 18 — Oil rebounded more than 2 per cent yesterday after falling for five straight session as a major US crude pipeline was shut and traders anticipated an Opec deal to extend curbs on production. Prices, however, fell for the…