Plunge in Exports Reverberates Across Asia
Japan Reports 27 Percent Drop as Regional Trade Slows; Toyota Warns of First Loss in 70 Years
Japan reported yesterday that its exports plunged a record 27 percent in November, signaling a dramatic deterioration in the world’s second-largest economy and the collapse of the export-led boom that had lifted many Asian nations.
Indeed, even mighty Toyota said yesterday it will post its first operating loss in seven decades, providing a vivid example of how some of the world’s most profitable companies have been quickly humbled by the global recession.
Japan’s stunning decline in exports is being echoed across Asia, where country after country is reporting data that has exceeded even the grimmest forecasts. Thailand said yesterday its exports in November fell by nearly 19 percent, the most in 17 years. Similarly, Taiwan’s exports fell 23 percent in November, and a government report on future export orders set to be released today is expected to show another steep drop.
This isn’t good as Toyota is a leading, innovative company in so many ways. In the end though, even Toyota will take some losses in this perfect storm. However, there is one bright spot: free software:
By Rochelle Garner
Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) — Red Hat Inc.’s quarterly profit and forecast beat analysts’ estimates after the company’s Linux software attracted budget-conscious buyers, sending the shares up 6.5 percent in late trading.
Third-quarter net income rose 20 percent to $24.3 million, or 12 cents a share, from $20.3 million, or 10 cents, a year earlier, Red Hat said today in a statement. Excluding stock-based compensation and tax expenses, profit was 24 cents a share in the period ended Nov. 30, compared with the 16-cent average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Red Hat, the world’s biggest distributor of Linux software, is touting its open-source programs as a way to cut costs in a shrinking economy. The underlying code of Red Hat’s software is developed freely by programmers worldwide, lowering the company’s expenses. Red Hat expanded its software in September by buying Qumranet Inc., a maker of virtualization software, which lets server computers run several operating systems at once.
“A down economic time is relatively good for our business,” Chief Executive Officer James Whitehurst said today in an interview.