Asian trading mixed after Fed ends emergency measures
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are trading mixed, as sentiment was shaken by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will end some of the emergency measures put in place last year to help the financial industry deal with the pandemic.
Japan’s benchmark fell today, South Korea’s index was little changed, while Australian and Chinese shares rose.
Stocks closed mostly lower on Wall Street last week. In Tokyo trading, major stocks fell nearly across the board, including those of automakers like Toyota and Honda, whose earnings get a boost from a healthy U.S. economy.
Canadian Pacific agrees to buy Kansas City Southern for $25B
NEW YORK (AP) — Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has agreed to buy Kansas City Southern for $25 billion in cash and stock, creating the first rail network linking the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The deal values Kansas City Southern at $275 a share, based on Friday’s stock prices.
Kansas City Southern shares closed at $224 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. The acquisition would need the approval of U.S. regulator the Surface Transportation Board.
The companies say they expect the process to take until mid-2022. The combined company would operate about 20,000 miles of railway, employ 20,000 people and generate annual revenue of about $8.7 billion.
NEW YORK (AP) — A trade bottleneck born of the COVID-19 outbreak has U.S. businesses waiting for shipments from Asia — while off the coast of California, dozens of container ships have been anchored, unable to unload their cargo.
The problems began when Americans stayed home and dramatically changed their buying habits — instead of clothes, they bought electronics, fitness equipment and home improvement products.
U.S. companies flooded Asian factories with orders. And that led to a chain reaction of congestion and snags at ports and freight hubs across the country as the goods arrived.
Shipments that once took weeks now can take several months. There’s so much competition for containers, the cost of importing is climbing. Shipments can sit on the dock for weeks while waiting for available land transportation.
UNDATED (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he believes his proposal to remove a mask mandate intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus will take place as planned at the end of the month.
On CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Hutchinson said goals he announced in February to lift the mask mandate, which include a positivity rate below 10%, or fewer than 750 hospitalizations, are being met and he believes the mask requirement will be lifted.
Hutchinson said he believes people will continue wearing masks when social distancing is not possible or they are otherwise at risk of virus exposure.
2nd Canadian to go on trial in China on spying charges
BEIJING (AP) — A Beijing court is expected to put on trial a second Canadian citizen held for more than two years on spying charges in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of a senior executive of Huawei (WAH’-way).
Today’s trial of analyst and former diplomat Michael Kovrig follows an initial hearing in the case of entrepreneur Michael Spavor on Friday. Canadian diplomats were refused access to Spavor’s trial and have been told both hearings would be held behind closed doors.
The government has provided almost no information about the accusations against the two, but a newspaper run by the ruling Communist Party alleges they collaborated in stealing state secrets and sending them abroad.
However, such cases are almost always predetermined in China, and Beijing is seen as using Kovrig and Spavor as leverage to obtain the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou (muhng wahn-JOH’), who was arrested at the request of the U.S. at the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 2019. The two Canadians were detained in China just days later.
Meng is sought by the U.S. on fraud charges related to the telecom giant’s dealings with Iran, which is under American financial sanctions.
Cyber attack tied to China boosts development bank’s chief
MIAMI (AP) — A previously unreported cyberattack on the website of the Inter-American Development Bank is focusing attention on the role China plays in the multilateral lender.
An internal IDB document reviewed by the AP claims that the September 2019 attack coincided with a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the bank and originated in more than 15,000 internet addresses throughout China.
IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone was an ardent critic of China when he served as the Trump administration’s top national security official for Latin America. News of the attack is surfacing as Claver-Carone seeks to outmaneuver critics in Washington and beyond still fuming over his politically charged election last year that broke with tradition of a Latin American being at the helm of the bank.
Turkish lira plummets after Erdogan fires central bank chief
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish currency has plummeted against the U.S. dollar after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) fired the central bank governor over the weekend for hiking interest rates.
The lira was trading at around 7.8 against the dollar today — nearly 9% down from Friday’s close. Erdogan, who advocates keeping interest rates low in order to tame inflation, unexpectedly fired Naci Agbal with a decree on Saturday just four months after he took office. He replaced Agbal with a banking professor who has argued for lower interest rates.
Agbal had hiked the benchmark rate to 19% during his time in office to try to rebuild the central bank’s credibility after years of unorthodox policies.
Japan charges Americans with helping Ghosn flee, jump bail
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese prosecutors have charged two Americans in connection with the escape of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn to Lebanon.
Tokyo District Prosecutors have been questioning Michael Taylor and his son Peter since they were extradited from the United States earlier this month. They have been detained at a Tokyo detention center since March 2.
Prosecutors said the Taylors were formally charged today with helping a criminal escape. The prosecutors had been seeking their extradition for months after they were arrested and detained in the U.S. last May. The Taylors were not immediately available for comment. In Japan’s criminal system, more than 99% of suspects are found guilty.