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Taipei Times | World Business Quick Take

Glencore losses deepen

Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore PLC yesterday said that it plunged deeper into the red last year, hit by the “extraordinary” challenge of COVID-19 and massive write-offs, especially on a mine closure in Zambia. The company said that it had a net loss of US$1.9 billion last year after writing off assets worth US$5.9 billion, compared with a net loss of US$404 million in 2019 following write-downs costing US$2.4 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the global economy amounted to an “extraordinary” challenge for the company, which mines and trades basic raw materials globally. The trading arm of the company saw operating profit soar 41 percent to US$3.3 billion, reflecting the huge volatility of metal and oil prices. However, the mining arm reported a fall in operating profit of 13 percent to US$7.8 billion, it said.

INTERNET

Traveloka plans US IPO

Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s biggest online travel start-up, is planning to list in the US this year to raise funds using a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), CEO Ferry Unardi said. “SPAC is very efficient,” Unardi said in an interview yesterday. “If we can do it faster, we can then focus on execution and growing the company,” Unardi added. Traveloka might consider listing in Indonesia at a later stage, he added. Traveloka adds to a list of Indonesian start-ups seeking similar initial public offerings (IPOs) in the US via the SPAC method, which allows them to use funds raised from the IPOs to buy a private company that then takes over the listing. Investors — including Expedia Group Inc; Rocket Internet SE; GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund; and JD.com — have helped boost Traveloka’s valuation over the years. It was valued at US$3 billion in 2017, CB Insights said.

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Bitcoin nears US$50,000

Bitcoin reached another record, coming ever closer to US$50,000, as the world’s largest cryptocurrency extends its breathtaking rally. The token yesterday climbed as much as 3.6 percent to US$49,913 in Asian trading, a composite of prices showed. Bitcoin’s volatile, fivefold advance over the past year towers above the returns from more traditional investments like stocks, gold and commodities. “Bitcoin volatility is likely to continue rising in the near term and remain elevated until it settles in around its next plateau,” Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist Mike McGlone said, adding that US$100,000 might be a long-term target.

UNITED KINGDOM

Tax hike likely needed: IFS

The government could need tax increases of about £60 billion (US$83.6 billion) if Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak wants to balance the books, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said. The warning sets the tone for the Treasury’s budget on March 3, when Sunak is due to outline how he intends to address the ruinous legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven government borrowing to its highest in peacetime and forced him to deliver 13 emergency statements since he took office a year ago. The analysis, based on forecasts by Citigroup, indicates that the scarring left by the deepest slump in three centuries might be worse than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted in November last year. However, the IFS said that now is not the time to be trying to fix the public finances, urging Sunak to bolster the recovery first.

Content credit: Taipei Times