By Gabriel Crossley and Stella Qiu

BEIJING, Oct 13 (Reuters)China’s imports grew at their fastest pace this year in September, while exports extended their strong gains as more trading partners lifted coronavirus restrictions in a further boost to the world’s second-biggest economy.

Exports in August rose 9.9% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, broadly in line with analysts’ expectations for 10% growth and up from a solid 9.5% increase in August.

The strong trade performance suggests Chinese exporters are making a brisk recovery from the coronavirus pandemic’s hit to overseas orders. As the global economy restarts, Chinese firms are rushing to grab market share as their rivals grapple with reduced manufacturing capacity.

China’s factory activity has also picked up as international trading gradually resumes.

But some analysts warn exports could peak soon as demand for Chinese-made protective gear recedes and the base effect of this year’s massive declines wears off.

Imports surged 13.2%, returning to growth from a slump of 2.1% in August and much stronger than expectations for a 0.3% increase.

The country’s trade surplus for September stood at $37 billion, compared with an expected $58.00 billion surplus forecast in the poll and a surplus of $58.93 billion in August.

Already heightened U.S.-China tensions are expected to escalate ahead of the U.S. presidential election. China remains well behind on its pledge to boost purchases of U.S. goods under an agreement that was launched in February.

China’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $30.75 billion in September from $34.24 billion in August.

Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal in a phone call in August.

However, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue cast doubt earlier this month on the likelihood of China meeting

A critical turning point in a career is when you begin to get calls from executive recruiters. MBA students often don’t realize that once they land at their post-MBA firms, their next placement will likely occur through an executive recruiter (especially if they go to a blue-chip company perceived as having skill identifying and developing talent). Executive recruiters are hired by companies to identify and place top talent, becoming the primary conduit through which many executive roles are accessed.

Consequently, how young executives develop and manage these relationships can influence future career options. To better understand the key mistakes junior executives make when engaging with executive recruiters, I turned to Umesh Ramakrishnan, a Co-CEO at Kingsley Gate Partners who has placed members of the boards of directors, CEOs, CFOs and other senior management positions in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Below is his insight.

Kimberly Whitler: What are the key mistakes that junior executives make when talking to ERs for the first time?

Umesh Ramakrishnan: Junior executives tend to be more cagey with information and say things like “at the appropriate time I can disclose that,” which means they haven’t yet built robust relationships with executive search firms. That is a big “tell” for an executive search consultant. The moment someone says something like that when asked about either their compensation, personal situation in terms of relocating, or achievements, the recruiter instantly knows that the candidate does not get approached often by a retained search consultant. This sends an unfortunate signal that the candidate may not yet be ready to work with executive recruiters. So, the junior executive unwittingly disqualifies him/herself by being restrictive with information that more experienced executives know is kept in confidence by a consultant.

Whitler: Is there any way that

(Bloomberg) — Demand for cars in China continues to go from strength to strength, making the automobile market in Asia’s biggest economy a lone bright spot as the coronavirus pandemic puts a damper on sales in Europe and the U.S.



a group of people standing on top of a car: A customer speaks with a sales agent while standing between a Ford Motor Co. Everest sport utility vehicle (SUV), right, and a Mustang sports car on display at a Ford dealership in Shanghai, China, on Thursday, July 19, 2018. The fledgling U.S.-China trade war will take a toll on companies from both sides, with some tariffs in place and the potential to escalate into consumer boycotts.


© Bloomberg
A customer speaks with a sales agent while standing between a Ford Motor Co. Everest sport utility vehicle (SUV), right, and a Mustang sports car on display at a Ford dealership in Shanghai, China, on Thursday, July 19, 2018. The fledgling U.S.-China trade war will take a toll on companies from both sides, with some tariffs in place and the potential to escalate into consumer boycotts.

Deliveries of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles increased 7.4% in September from a year earlier to 1.94 million units, the China Passenger Car Association said Tuesday. That’s the third straight monthly increase, and it was driven by demand for SUVs. A fuller sales picture will be reported later in the day by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

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With auto sales in the U.S. and Europe still impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, reviving demand in China is proving a boon for international and domestic manufacturers. China is set to be the first country globally to bounce back to 2019 volume levels, albeit only by 2022, according to researchers including S&P Global Ratings.

Automakers worldwide have invested billions of dollars in China, the world’s top car market since 2009, where the middle class is expanding but penetration is still relatively low. Brands from countries such as Germany and Japan have weathered the pandemic better than their local rivals — the combined market share of Chinese brands fell to 36.2% in the first eight months from a peak of 43.9% in 2017.

Even as the market recovers, it may still record

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s central bank is likely to keep monetary policy unchanged Wednesday as it allows fiscal measures to do the heavy lifting in getting the city-state’s economy back on track.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, which uses the currency as its main policy tool rather than interest rates, probably will refrain from changing any of the three currency band settings, according to all 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.



chart: Singapore Monetary Policy History


© Bloomberg
Singapore Monetary Policy History

The MAS — which typically makes policy decisions twice a year, in April and October — took the unprecedented step in its last announcement of lowering the midpoint of the currency band and reducing the slope to zero. That meant it would allow for a weaker exchange rate to head off deflation and support the export-reliant economy.

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Since then, the economy has plunged into recession amid the pandemic and the government has unleashed billions of dollars of stimulus to save businesses and jobs. The city-state is slowly starting to shake off the impact of mobility restrictions and exports have continued to gain, but the recovery is likely to be a slow one as international travel restrictions remain and global demand stays weak.

“We’ve not seen the full extent of the crisis” and as much as 20% of the economy will face “deep scarring from which they may not recover,” MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon said Monday during a virtual forum hosted by the Institute of International Finance.

While the city-state has likely seen the worst of the GDP downswing, Menon said non-performing loans and bankruptcies probably will rise through the start of 2021.

The government has forecast a 5%-7% contraction in the economy this year, the worst since independence more than a half-century ago, and may revise that estimate when the Ministry of

On September 8, the troubled Texas-based dining chain Luby’s (LUB) announced its intention to liquidate after a strategic review process launched over the summer. At the time of writing, the shares, though volatile, trade below the lower end of the company’s estimate of $3-4/share upon liquidation (bolding below is mine):

While no assurances can be given, the Company currently estimates, assuming the sale of its assets pursuant to its monetization strategy, that it could make aggregate liquidating distributions to stockholders of between approximately $92 million and $123 million (approximately $3.00 and $4.00 per share of common stock, respectively, based on 30,752,470 shares of common stock outstanding as of September 2, 2020). Aggregate payments will likely be paid in one or more distributions. The Company cannot predict the timing or amount of any such distributions, as uncertainties exist as to the value it may receive upon the sale of assets pursuant to its monetization strategy, the net value of any remaining assets after such sales are completed, the ultimate amount of expenses associated with implementing its monetization strategy, liabilities, operating costs and amounts to be set aside for claims, obligations and provisions during the liquidation and winding-up process and the related timing to complete such transactions and overall process.

Source: Luby’s investor site

Insider Ownership

CEO Christopher Pappas owns over 23% of the shares, and his brother, Harris Pappas, has a similarly large holding. There has been no material insider selling since 2018. Hence, alignment with shareholders is relatively clear. The CEO will benefit far more from an effective, price-maximizing liquidation process than a drawn-out process with high fees.

Value Of Real Estate

That Luby’s has material real estate assets is not new news. There was a Seeking Alpha piece on it two years ago, some good valuation work here, and