Five fascinating business facts – Part 55

by | February 12, 2018 1:00 am


Ghanaian Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta traveled to Asia Thursday to gauge investor interest for the nation’s planned sale of $1 billion of Eurobonds, according to two people familiar with the matter. The trip to Hong Kong and Singapore isn’t an official roadshow because Ghana hasn’t yet appointed deal advisers for the sale. Officials from the local unit of Standard Chartered Plc, Fidelity Bank Ghana and Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd. will accompany Ofori-Atta on the trip.


New York Times shares have risen to their highest level in more than a decade, as the newspaper reported a surge in digital subscribers and revenues at the end of last year. The company signed up 157,000 paying online readers in the fourth quarter, a 49 per cent increase over the previous year, which included the US election and the so-called “Trump bump”, a boom in readership among some of the US president’s favourite media targets. The New York Times now has more than 2.6m digital subscribers, while overall subscription revenue has passed $1bn for the first time in 2017 and now accounts for 60 per cent of the company’s sales.


Investors yanked a record $30.6bn from global equities funds this week, with the US facing particularly heavy withdrawals amid an intense bout of volatility on Wall Street. Outflows from US stock funds totalled $34bn in the five trading days to Wednesday, according to EPFR data compiled by Jefferies. Funds holding stocks from developed European countries also faced significant withdrawals of $3.4bn, while foreign investors pulled $7.7bn from Asia Pacific funds.


Indonesia is set to steal Egypt’s spot as the world’s largest wheat importer as the country’s drive for self-sufficiency in corn has led to shifts in its overseas purchases. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s latest estimates, Indonesia is expected to import 12.5m tonnes for the 2017-2018 marketing year, surpassing Egypt. “Indonesia is now the leading global wheat importer,” said the USDA. Egypt has held the title as the world’s major importer of wheat since the 2007-08 season, with Brazil in the top spot before that, said analysts at AHDB Market Intelligence.


It’s the news that investors in parcel delivery heavyweights UPS and FedEx have been dreading. Shares in both companies fell more than 5 per cent in pre-market trading on Friday after a report said Amazon is just weeks away from launching a new service that would allow it to deliver more of its own packages. According to the Wall Street Journal, the e-commerce giant will roll out “in coming weeks” a new programme that will see it pick up packages from third party merchants on its website and deliver the goods to consumers.

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