In today’s top stories, European EV sales rose by 12% last month, due to an easing of semiconductor shortages. Elsewhere, the London Metal Exchange found stones where it was expecting nickel associated with contracts owned by JPMorgan. Beijing has given China’s biggest chipmakers easier access to subsidies, with a view to circumventing the US export ban. Amazon is to lay off a further 9,000 employees, taking its job cuts total for the year to 27,000. Lastly, Pinduoduo has been temporarily pulled from Alphabet’s Google Play over malware concerns, while TikTok now has 150 million active monthly users in the US.
Europe’s EV sales outpace petrol
Car registrations in Europe rose by 12% in February, to 902,775 vehicles, according to the latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Sales of electric vehicles were up 34% thanks to the easing of semiconductor shortages, but headwinds remain. “Supply-chain constraints have abated, though tightening consumer budgets amid inflation and rising interest rates are a risk to pricing and the auto-sales recovery,” wrote Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Gillian Davis and Michael Dean on Monday.
JPMorgan owned ‘fake nickel’ contracts
The London Metal Exchange found bags of stones at one of its warehouses, where there should instead have been nickel tied to nine nickel contracts worth more than $1.3m. It now turns out that JPMorgan [JPM] was the owner of these contracts, having put the bags of fake nickel on the exchange last year, as reported by Fastmarkets. However there’s nothing to suggest the bank did anything wrong.
China boosts chipmakers
After the US restricted exports of chips made using US tools to China, Beijing has responded by giving its biggest chipmakers easier access to subsidies, the Financial Times reports. Beneficiaries will include Hua Hong Semiconductor [1347.HK] and Semiconductor Manufacturing International [0981.HK]. “The Chinese government will subsidise these companies to produce and deploy localised chipmaking tools without any funding cap, just in order to overcome US restrictions,” the Financial Times quoted a source familiar with the matter as saying.
Amazon cuts a further 9,000 roles
Amazon [AMZN] is laying off 9,000 employees, it was announced Monday, taking its job cuts total for the year so far to 27,000. The roles being eliminated are in its AWS, advertising, PXT (People Experience and Technology Solutions) and Twitch divisions. “I don't think this means much for other companies, except that all will be more careful before allowing their headcount to balloon in the future,” Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter told Reuters.
TikTok’s US user base growth
Malware concerns related to Pinduoduo [PDD] has led to it being temporarily pulled from Alphabet’s [GOOGL] Google Play store. In other China tech news, regulators have reopened its gaming market to foreign titles, importing 27 new games from, among others, NetEase [9999.HK] and Tencent [0700.HK]. TikTok now has 150 million active monthly users in the US, CEO Shou Zi Chew told Congress on Monday Forcing ByteDance to sell the app won’t address US security concerns, Chew said last week.