over 1 year ago • 3 mins
Data out over the weekend showed that Tesla delivered a record number of cars in China last month.
What does this mean?
Musk might've been licking his wounds after last quarter’s disappointing global deliveries report, but delivering a record 83,000 EVs in the world’s biggest auto market last month might turn his frown upside down. That’s not to say the bumper showing has come as a complete bolt from the blue: there were a couple of key catalysts at play. For one, Tesla’s factory in Shanghai was recently upgraded, boosting the number of cars it can produce each week by 30%. And for another, the company started wooing Chinese customers with insurance incentives in September, which have appealed to drivers who were already sick of rising fuel costs.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: You win some, you lose some.
Tesla might be making strides in China, but its competitors are doing their damnedest to edge into the firm’s other strongholds. BYD – the world’s third most valuable car company after Toyota and Tesla – recently unveiled plans to launch in Europe, an early step in its ambitious global expansion. And Chinese firm Nio wants a slice of that sweet European pie too, announcing last week that – after a year of sales in Norway – it now plans to sell cars throughout the continent.
Zooming out: China’s not so hot right now.
It’s no surprise that Tesla’s Chinese rivals are looking to expand overseas with the economy in tatters. Data out over the weekend showed that China’s services industry shrank for the first time in four months in September, as the country’s zero-Covid strategy took a toll on consumer spending. And with the current government due to be handed a fresh five-year leadership term this week, it doesn’t look like that policy’s going to change any time soon.
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Projections out on Monday show British firms are set to spend a record amount on share buybacks this year.
What does this mean?
Everyday Brits might be cutting back their spending, but the country’s biggest businesses sure aren’t. In fact, finance chiefs of companies in the FTSE 100 – an index tracking the UK’s biggest firms – are set to spend a record £51 billion ($57 billion) on share buybacks this year, which would reduce the supply of shares and, in turn, mean remaining shareholders would each claim a bigger chunk of any profit. After all, they have plenty of cash to play with: the UK’s biggest companies are multinational firms that make a heap of money overseas, and today’s weaker-than-usual pound means foreign profit is worth more when converted back to home currency. Add lower share prices into the mix, and that might be why high-flying execs believe it’s high time to pay some of that bounty back to shareholders.
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Let’s get cynical.
Businesses use their spare cash to reinvest internally, buy other firms, or pay shareholders back. Many executives claim that buybacks – one way to return shareholders’ cash – are a vote of confidence, indicating that shares are going for a bargain. But cynics might argue that buybacks are a last resort, and could be a negative long-term signal that a firm’s management has failed to find any growth-fuelling opportunities.
The bigger picture: How the other half live.
British companies gorging on buybacks is a sure sign that they have bucketloads of cash on hand. But you haven’t slipped into an alternate dimension, the country’s economy is still in a tight spot. See, what’s good for business isn’t always good for the country as a whole: while a weaker pound might make companies’ overseas profit look heftier, it diminishes consumers’ spending power on imported goods. Plus, pumped-up commodity prices mean the biggest energy companies rake it in while everyday folk struggle to fill their tanks.
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