Monday, June 6, 2016

Surveys point to Brexit; US presses China over industrial glut; Samsung plans phone with bendable screen

1 Surveys point to Brexit (Phillip Inman, Graeme Wearden & Katie Allen in The Guardian) Polls by YouGov, ICM and TNS have shown the Brexit campaign extending its recent lead as concerns about migration and the costs of EU membership rose to the top of the political agenda.

The YouGov poll showed 45% of Britons would vote to leave the EU compared with 41% who would vote to stay in. A separate online survey by TNS showed 43% backed Brexit, while 41% supported continued EU membership. An ICM poll of 2,000 people added to the pressure, with 48% in favour of the UK leaving, up one point on last week, and 43% in favour of remaining.

Most banks, insurers and fund managers have voiced fears about the prospect of Brexit and the impact it could have on sterling. HSBC said earlier this year the pound would fall 20% in the event of a no vote to leave the EU.

The boss of Hitachi has become the latest business leader to urge Britain to vote to remain in the EU. Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi said the Japanese firm, which has its global rail hub in London, had invested over a billion pounds in the UK’s rail and energy sectors.

“For most global companies like Hitachi, the critical benefit of investing in the UK is that it is the best base for accessing the whole European market of 500m people ... But take away the UK’s membership of the EU, and the future investment case looks very different,” he commented.

2 US presses China over industrial glut (San Francisco Chronicle) US envoys pressed China to cut excess steel production that is flooding global markets and to reach a diplomatic settlement to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, as the two sides opened a high-level dialogue.

The annual meeting of Cabinet-level foreign affairs, trade and other officials from both sides is meant to head off conflict. Officials acknowledged differences on an array of issues but repeatedly stressed their interest in amicable cooperation, and pledged to work together to see the Paris agreement on curbing emissions of climate-changing gases ratified by the world's governments.

The US agenda includes pressing Beijing to move faster with plans to shrink bloated industries including steel, which its trading partners complain is flooding their markets with unfairly cheap exports, hurting their producers and threatening jobs. Washington has responded by imposing anti-dumping tariffs on steel, and European officials say they have launched a trade investigation.

Washington also wants China to move faster to reduce a rising burden of corporate debt that financial analysts worry could hamper economic growth.

3 Samsung plans phone with bendable screen (Straits Times) Samsung Electronics Co is considering introducing two new smartphone models that will feature bendable screens, including a version that folds in half like a cosmetic compact, people familiar with the matter said.

The devices using organic light-emitting diodes could be unveiled as soon as early 2017, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. That would likely give it a head start on new Apple iPhones. The second Samsung model will have a 5-inch screen when used as a handset, that unfurls into a display as large as 8 inches, similar to a tablet, the people said.

Samsung, the biggest supplier of Oled panels for mobile products, has pioneered the development of new screen formats with its multi-sided Edge smartphones. Using advanced display technology may help the company recapture customers from Apple and boost earnings that have slumped for the past two years.

Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae Yong is accelerating a push beyond phones as growth in the market slows. The company has held talks to supply Oleds to Apple, people familiar with the matter have said. Samsung was one of the biggest makers of chips and displays for Apple until the companies started suing each other in 2011 for alleged patent infringements.

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