Business | Edition 8 April 2023

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Meta revealed Thread, a text-based chat app it’s promoting as a more “friendly” social media competitor to Twitter. Threads is linked to Instagram, one of Meta’s existing social networking sites, allowing its young user base to move easily between the two. With Twitter becoming increasingly unruly under the stewardship of Elon Musk, Threads could be a critical threat to the platform. About 10m people signed up for Threads in the first seven hours, according to Meta.

Apple’s The stock market valuation closed above $3trn for the first time. The company’s share price has risen nearly 50% this year, as investors are betting on disappointing growth in iPhone revenue. Tech stocks in general have rallied after last year’s run. The NASDAQ Composite has gained 32% since the start of 2023, its best first half of a year since 1983. A handful of companies are leading the rally, notably Nvidia, which makes chips for use in artificial intelligence. Its stock is up nearly 200% this year.

at Tesla the share price is also going up. The electric car maker delivered 466,000 vehicles between April and June, up 83% from the same three months last year and a company record, and produced 480,000. Confirming the incredible demand for electric vehicles BYD, Chinese rival Tesla sold 700,000 electric and plug-in hybrids in its latest quarter, the best ever for sales.

Alef Aeronautics, a startup backed by a VC investor in Tesla and Space X, he received an air certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration for his model A flying carthe first time such a vehicle was received US government permission to fly. Alef aims to start selling its fully electric car, which can take off and land directly as well as drive on roads, by the end of 2025.

Political bias

A federal judge in America has temporarily barred government officials from talking to social media companies about removing content that comes under supervision. free speech (not including criminal or terrorist topics). The case, which was not finally settled, was brought by the states of Louisiana and Missouri. The judge, who was nominated by Donald Trump, said it was “telling” that the government was trying to scrub mostly conservative views from social platforms.

Pakistan KSE 100 The stock market recorded its biggest gain in 15 years, after the government received a $3bn short-term bailout from IMF. The agreement gives Pakistan breathing room as it tries to avoid debt repayment. Its foreign sources have dwindled, leaving some businesses unable to pay for imports.

China has lifted export curbs on gallium and germanium, materials used for manufacturing semiconductors. The decision was made on the grounds of national security but is seen as retaliation for Western sanctions on Chinese technology. The restrictions were announced shortly before Janet Yellen, the US treasury secretary, was to visit China for talks.

Pan Gongsheng was appointed as its new political leader China central bank, and is expected to take over the governor’s job soon. Mr. Pan, a former Harvard senior, has been deputy governor since 2012 and was responsible for managing the country’s large foreign currency reserves. Observers believe it is unlikely to change the bank’s cautious approach to economic stimulus, at least for now.

Australia the central bank left its benchmark interest rate at 4.1%, surprising some economists. The bank raised the cash rate in June and issued hawkish signals about further hikes. At this week’s meeting rate negotiators suggested they wanted to assess the impact of previous increases, but did not rule out more tightening in the future.

Saudi Arabia and Russia took additional steps to debase oil supply in hopes of raising prices. The Saudis are extending a cut of 1m barrels per day until the end of August and the Russians are making an additional “voluntary” reduction of 500,000 b/d. Prices did not rise much in response. Brent crude has been trading around $72 to $76 a barrel since early May.

In India Reliance Jio, part of the Reliance conglomerate run by Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, sent a basic phone connected to the Internet for 999 rupees ($12). The cheap “feature” tool will reduce the cost of a 4G phone for the 250m Indians who still use it 2Genabling them to tap into mobile payment services.

Model for travel

Travelers to Japan may never again have to worry about packing a business suit or cocktail dress. Japan Airlines has rolled out a new service where passengers can rent clothes from the airline before boarding through an app. The clothing sets cost up to ¥7,000 ($49). Unfortunately for larger shoppers, the clothes mostly only come in small, medium and large.

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