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  • Boeing finds a new issue with 737 MAX aircraft

    Wed, 2020-02-19 03:39

    Boeing said Tuesday that it found debris contaminating the fuel tanks of some 737 MAX jets that it built in the past year but was unable to deliver to airline customers.
    A Boeing official said the debris was discovered in “several” planes but did not give a precise number. Boeing built about 400 undelivered MAX jets before it temporarily halted production last month.
    The fuel tank debris was discovered during maintenance on parked planes, and Boeing said it immediately made corrections in its production system to prevent a recurrence. Those steps include more inspections before fuel tanks are sealed.
    A Boeing spokesman said that the issue would not change the company’s belief that the Federal Aviation Administration will certify the plane to fly again this summer.
    An FAA spokesman said the agency knows that Boeing is conducting a voluntary inspection of undelivered MAX planes.
    The FAA “increased its surveillance based on initial inspection reports and will take further action based on the findings,” said spokesman Lynn Lunsford.
    Metal shavings, tools and other objects left in planes during assembly can raise the risk of electrical short-circuiting and fires.
    Mark Jenks, Boeing’s general manager of the 737 program, said in a memo to employees who work on the 737, “During these challenging times, our customers and the flying public are counting on us to do our best work each and every day.”
    Jenks called the debris “absolutely unacceptable. One escape is one too many.”
    The debris issue was first reported by aviation news site
    MAX jets were grounded around the world last March after two crashes killed 346 people. Boeing is conducting test flights to assess updates to a flight-control system that activated before the crashes on faulty signals from sensors outside the plane, pushing the noses of the aircraft down and triggering spirals that pilots were unable to stop.
    While investigators examining the MAX accidents have not pointed to production problems at the assembly plant near Seattle, Boeing has faced concerns about debris left in other finished planes including the 787 Dreamliner, which is built in South Carolina.

    Main category: 

    American Airlines reaches compensation settlement with Boeing for 737 MAX groundingBoeing, FAA reviewing new design issue on grounded 737 MAX aircraft

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Egypt central bank seen keeping key interest rates steady

    Tue, 2020-02-18 23:58

    CAIRO: Egypt’s central bank is likely to keep interest rates on hold for a second straight time on Thursday, a Reuters poll suggested, though some analysts expected another cut after inflation ticking up in January.

    Six out of 11 economists surveyed by Reuters expected the Central Bank of Egypt to keep rates steady when its monetary policy committee meets, while five forecast a cut of between 50 and 100 basis points.

    At the last meeting on Jan. 16, the CBE left its overnight rate at 13.25 percent for lending and 12.25 percent for deposits, unexpectedly halting an easing cycle that had shaved off 350 basis points (bps) since August.

    The most populous Arab country is emerging from a three-year International Monetary Fund-backed economic reform program that saw inflation soar as high as 33 percent during 2017.

    Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation rose to 7.2 percent in January from 7.1 percent in December after falling to as low as 3.1 percent in October, its slowest since December 2005.

    “We project another rate cut of between 50 and 100 bps as inflationary pressures are expected to ease amid weak domestic demand conditions,” said Callee Davis, analyst at South Africa-based NKC.

    “Consumer price inflation is forecast to slow in the near term owing to the continued strengthening of the Egyptian pound and the potential downward adjustment of domestic fuel price in line with global Brent crude oil prices, combined with some base effects,” she said.

    Main category: 

    Egypt’s central bank seen making fourth consecutive interest rate cutEgypt’s central bank governor appointed for second term -state media

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Huawei loses legal challenge of US federal purchase ban

    Wed, 2020-02-19 06:54

    HOUSTON: Washington has the right to block US federal agencies from buying products by Huawei on cybersecurity grounds, a judge ruled Tuesday, dismissing the Chinese telecom giant’s legal challenge to a purchase ban.

    Huawei filed the suit last year and claimed Congress had failed to provide evidence to support a law that stopped government agencies from buying its equipment, services, or working with third parties that are Huawei customers.

    But the court ruled there was no constitutionally guaranteed right to a contract with the federal government.

    The ban was justified in the context of a congressional investigation “into a potential threat against the nation’s cybersecurity,” wrote US District Judge Amos Mazzant.

    Huawei said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling and would “continue to consider further legal options.”

    Washington has long considered Huawei a possible security danger due to the background of founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese army engineer.

    It has warned that the company’s systems could be manipulated by Beijing to spy on other countries and disrupt critical communications, and is urging nations to shun the firm.

    Concerns have intensified with Huawei’s rise to become a world leader in telecom networking equipment and one of the top smartphone manufacturers alongside Samsung and Apple.

    But the firm is expected to play a major role in the rollout of ultra-fast 5G networks that will allow wide adoption of next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence.

    Huawei equipment has been seen as considerably more advanced than 5G competitors such as Sweden’s Ericsson or Finland’s Nokia, while no US company is considered a serious rival.

    Last week the US also slapped the company with criminal charges for an alleged “decades-long” effort to steal trade secrets from American companies.

    Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada in 2018 on a US warrant in a related probe into her company’s violation of US sanctions.

    She is under house arrest awaiting a ruling on whether she will be extradited to face charges south of the border.

    Main category: 

    US brings new charges against Chinese tech giant HuaweiHuawei races to replace Google apps for next smartphone

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Oil falls below $57 on virus impact and OPEC+ delay

    Wed, 2020-02-19 00:01

    LONDON: Oil fell below $57 a barrel on Tuesday, pressured by concerns over the impact on crude demand from the coronavirus outbreak in China and a lack of further action by OPEC and its allies to support the market.

    Forecasters including the International Energy Agency (IEA) have cut 2020 oil demand estimates because of the virus. Though new cases in mainland China have dipped, global experts say it is too early to judge if the outbreak is being contained.

    Brent crude was down 82 cents at $56.85 a barrel in mid-afternoon trade after rallying in the previous five sessions. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 70 cents to $51.35.

    “Risk aversion has returned to the markets,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

    “OPEC+ has shown no sign yet of reacting to the virus-related slump in demand by making additional production cuts.”

    The virus is having a wider impact on companies and financial markets. Asian shares fell and Wall Street was poised to retreat on Tuesday after Apple said it would miss quarterly revenue guidance owing to weakened demand in China.

    “This has spooked market players and triggered a sharp pullback in risk assets,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

    The IEA last week said that first-quarter oil demand is likely to fall by 435,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the same period last year in the first quarterly decline since the financial crisis in 2009.

    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, have been considering further production cuts to tighten supply and support prices.

    The group, known as OPEC+, has a pact to cut oil output by 1.7 million bpd until the end of March.

    The next OPEC+ meeting next month is set to consider an advisory panel’s recommendation to cut supply by a further 600,000 bpd. Talks on holding an earlier meeting in February appear to have made no progress, OPEC sources said.

    As well as OPEC+ voluntary curbs, support for prices has come from involuntary losses in Libya, where output has collapsed since Jan. 18 because of a blockade of ports and oilfields.

    Main category: 

    Oil hits 13-mth low on weak Chinese demand, traders eye OPEC+ cutsSupport grows for deeper OPEC+ oil output cuts

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Samsung poised to benefit from virus woes afflicting rivals

    Tue, 2020-02-18 23:52

    SEOUL: Samsung Electronics stands to be a major beneficiary of the China production problems announced by rival Apple Inc on Monday, reaping the rewards of a decade-long bet on low-cost smartphone manufacturing in Vietnam.

    Half of Samsung’s smartphones are now made in Vietnam, where the coronavirus that has crippled the China operations of Apple and many other firms has so far had only a limited impact on its production.

    Apple said on Monday it would not meet its revenue guidance for the March quarter due to the coronavirus impact on both production and sales in China, where most iPhones are made. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp last week also flagged a hit to its March quarter sales.

    Huawei, another major Samsung rival, has not announced any production problems, but Samsung insiders, analysts and suppliers expect it will also be hit hard due to its heavy reliance on Chinese manufacturing and parts. Many Chinese and foreign firms have begun to re-open China factories that were idled for weeks, but shortages of workers and other problems have in many cases kept output to a minimum.

    Samsung has also largely ceded the China market to its rivals in recent years, meaning it won’t suffer from the store closures and drop in demand that is hitting Apple and others.


    5G — Before the virus, the smartphone market had been expected to end two consecutive years of falls due to smartphones running on faster 5G wireless networks. But the outbreak will dampen hopes of a rebound, with global shipments likely to record another decline.

    “Samsung is better positioned to weather the virus fallout than its formidable rivals such as Huawei and Apple,” a person with knowledge of Samsung’s supply chain said.

    “The virus exposed China risks. We feel fortunate that we were able to escape the risks,” he said.

    Another person familiar with Samsung’s thinking told Reuters: “Samsung does not say it publicly. But it is relieved.”

    Still, two sources familiar with Samsung’s Vietnam operations cautioned that should the virus outbreak be prolonged, Samsung would feel the impact, as the company sources many components from China.

    Problems with cross-border shipments also cropped up in the early phases of the virus outbreak as Vietnam imposed stricter border controls, according to Hong Sun, vice chairman of Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam. The issues have since been resolved, Sun said, but risks remain if Chinese parts suppliers cannot get back to work.

    Samsung also relies on Chinese contract manufacturers for some low-end models.

    In a statement, the company said: “We are making our best effort to minimize any impact on our operations.”

    Main category: 

    Samsung predicts earnings improvement after sluggish 2019

    Posted: by Arab News

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