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SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were set to trade mixed on Thursday as investors digest an overnight update from the U.S. Federal Reserve that indicated the central bank plans to raise interest rates as soon as March. Nikkei futures pointed to a cautious open in Japan whereas Australia's benchmark ASX 200 rose 0.85% in early trade. Thursday's session in the Asia-Pacific followed overnight declines on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 129 points, after gaining more than 500 points at one point, following the Fed's update. Oil prices rose as much as 2% overnight, with international benchmark Brent crude futures hitting $90 on Wednesday for the first time since 2014. On the earnings front, Samsung Electronics is set to report fourth-quarter results.
Organizations: U.S . Federal, Nikkei, Dow Jones, Brent, Samsung Electronics Locations: SINGAPORE — Asia, Pacific, Japan, Asia, Taiwan
Pushy 7-Eleven investors are welcome inconvenience
  + stars: | 2022-01-27 | by ( Jennifer Hughes | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +4 min
People stand outside a 7-Eleven convenience store outside the headquarters of Seven & I Holdings in Tokyo January 9, 2015. Aggressive hedge fund manager Dan Loeb prompted a leadership change at 7-Eleven operator Seven & i in 2016, but it wasn’t enough to spark a notable return. ValueAct Capital wants the board’s independent directors to form a strategic review committee to consider selling and spinning off underperforming businesses. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterFrom a pandemic-induced low in July 2020, Seven & i’s shares have rallied, but longer-term performance is poor. In that context, some pushiness from investors at the Slurpee-selling chain’s owner might be a welcome inconvenience.
Persons: Yuya, HONG KONG, Jan, Dan Loeb, Isaka, pales, Alimentation Couche, Breakingviews, Jeffrey Goldfarb, Katrina Hamlin Organizations: Seven, Holdings, REUTERS, Reuters, ValueAct Capital, Artisan Partners, Management, Toshiba, Olympus, ValueAct, Partners, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, HONG, Japan
China, West rush tsunami relief supplies to tsunami-hit Tonga
  + stars: | 2022-01-27 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
A navy vessel carrying drinking water and food will arrive from Fiji on Thursday, while two military aircraft will also deliver 33 tonnes of emergency supplies including drinking water, food, tents, and walkie talkies, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said at a briefing late on Wednesday. The Chinese navy will ship bulky items such as portable cabins, tractors, generators and water pumps to Tonga in coming days, it added. Beijing claimed it was the first to supply drinking water and food supplies to Tonga on January 19, although this could not be independently verified by Reuters. The Australian and New Zealand naval vessels have also arrived in Tonga, and Canberra promised an A$3 million ($2.12 million) in humanitarian funding to Tonga. The Tongan government has said the entire population have been impacted by the ash and the tsunami.
Persons: Robert Whitmore, Jan, Zhao Lijian, Sampson, Kyle Raines, Praveen Menon, Michael Perry Organizations: Australian Department Of Defence, REUTERS, Reuters, The United States, Pacific Command, British Royal Navy, New, Canberra, Tongan, Thomson Locations: Adelaide, Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga, REUTERS WELLINGTON, Beijing, Fiji, France, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, China, South, United States
Pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures tumbled 2.88%, FTSE futures lost 1.98%, Nasdaq futures dropped 1.73% and S&P 500 e-minis shed 1.56%. Fed funds futures showed traders pricing in as many as five hikes by December, after previously fully pricing for four increases. YIELDS JUMPExpectations of Fed tightening sent the policy-sensitive U.S. 2-year yield to a top of 1.1920% in Asian trade, a level last reached in February 2020. These in turn helped the dollar, lifting the dollar index, which measures the greenback against major peers, to 96.604, near five-week highs. The spread between the U.S. and Japanese 2-year yield widened to 124.22 basis points on Thursday, its highest since late February 2020.
Persons: Powell, David Chao, Chao, Hong, HSI, we've, it's, Matt Simpson, Simpson, Andrew Galbraith, Alun John, Richard Pullin Organizations: SHANGHAI, Federal, Nasdaq, Asia Pacific, country's, Nikkei, Index, U.S, United, Brent, . West Texas, White, Thomson Locations: Asia, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Invesco, U.S, Tokyo, Sydney, United States, Europe, Moscow, Hong Kong
Southeast Asia's largest economy wants to attract 1,200 trillion rupiah ($83.43 billion) in investment this year, from both domestic and foreign sources, up from 2021's 901.02 trillion rupiah, Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia told an online news conference. Last year, Indonesia recorded 454 trillion rupiah of FDI, up 10% from 2020 and representing more than half of total investment. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com Register"The priority focus for investment in 2022, firstly we must refer to the grand vision of our president, which is transformation and downstreaming (of natural resources)," Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia told a news conference. read moreThe minister also said he will urge Taiwan-based Foxconn (2317.TW) to realize a planned Indonesian investment to develop electric cars. President Joko Widodo has said he wants the resource rich country to stop exporting unprocessed bauxite, copper, tin and gold in its next move to attract investment.
Persons: Willy Kurniawan, Bahlil Lahadalia, Bahlil, Joko Widodo, Gayatri Suroyo, Bernadette Christina Munthe, Martin Petty, Ed Davies Organizations: REUTERS, Investment, South Korea's LG, Amperex Technology, Thomson Locations: Jakarta, Indonesia, JAKARTA, Bukit, North Kalimantan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, United States, Japan
The logo of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is seen ahead of a Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi chiefs' joint news conference in Yokohama, Japan, March 12, 2019. The two-decade old alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T), said it would increase the number of common platforms for electric vehicles (EV) to five from four. They will build a combined EV line-up of 35 vehicles by 2030, the companies said, adding that by 2026 four fifths of their models would share common platforms, up from 60% now. We benefit from shared experience and expertise," Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said in a presentation with other executives from the alliance. Nissan said on Thursday it planned to replace its Micra car in Europe with a new EV using one of the common platforms.
Persons: Kim Kyung, Jan, Makoto Uchida, Carlos Ghosn, Jean, Dominique Senard, Clotilde Delbos, Tim Kelly, Gilles Guillaume, Mark Potter Organizations: Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, REUTERS, Mitsubishi Motors, Toyota, Tesla Inc, Volkswagen AG, Thomson Locations: Yokohama, Japan, TOKYO, PARIS, Europe
McDonald's on Thursday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that missed analysts' expectations as higher costs weighed on its profits. The company's same-store sales climbed 12.3% from a year ago and 10.8% on a two-year basis. In McDonald's home market, same-store sales rose 7.5%, topping StreetAccount estimates of 6.9%. However, China reported same-store sales declines as the country faced Covid-19 resurgences in the quarter. The company's international operated markets segment, which includes the United Kingdom, Australia and France, saw same-store sales growth of 16.8%, narrowly topping estimates of 16.5%.
Persons: McDonald's Organizations: McDonald's Corp, Refinitiv, Tech Labs, IBM, U.S . Locations: Louisville , Kentucky, U.S, Japan, Latin America, China, United Kingdom, Australia, France
SoftBank shares tumble 9% as tech stocks sell-off continues
  + stars: | 2022-01-27 | by ( Sam Shead | ) www.cnbc.com   time to read: +2 min
Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group at the SoftBank World 2018 event in Tokyo, Japan. SoftBank's share price fell 9% Thursday as investors cashed out of their positions in Asian technology stocks. The collapse coincided with a disappointing day of trading for SoftBank's biggest investment, Alibaba, which saw its share price slide by more than 7% on the Hong Kong stock market. Elsewhere, Tokyo-headquartered Sony saw its share price drop as much as 8% despite having more predictable revenue and income streams than SoftBank. Many of the world's best-known tech stocks saw their market cap's sky rocket in 2021 but the trend hasn't continued into 2020, with tens of billions of dollars being knocked off some company's valuations.
Persons: Son, It's, — CNBC's Elliot Smith, Holly Ellyatt Organizations: SoftBank Group, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Hong, Nvidia, Sony, Nikkei, Hang Seng, Federal Reserve Locations: Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong, Asia, Pacific, South Korea, U.S
Customers are seen at a McDonald's fast food restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/File PhotoJan 27 (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) missed revenue expectations on Thursday, as dismal sales in its more than 4,500 restaurants in Australia and China due to pandemic-related curbs ate into gains from growth in the United States in the fourth quarter. While McDonald's had raised prices in 2021, higher costs continue to weigh on its profit as the company has been forced to increase wages to retain workers in the United States, its largest market. Its total operating cost rose 14% to $3.61 billion, its highest quarterly rise in at least five years. Global same-store sales jumped 12.3%, compared with Wall Street estimates of a 10.73% rise.
Persons: Kim Kyung, McDonald's, Hilary Russ, Arun Koyyur Organizations: REUTERS, McDonald's, Reuters.com, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, Australia, China, United States, Italy, Germany, France, U.S, New York, Bengaluru
Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi on Thursday announced that they would band together to make substantial new investments in electric cars as they seek to leverage their sometimes fractious alliance to compete in the global market for battery-powered vehicles. Speaking from France and Japan during a rare joint presentation, the alliance’s top executives said that the companies had moved past the discord sowed by the 2018 ouster of their former chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, which badly frayed their relations and plunged them into disarray. The alliance — collectively the world’s third largest automaker — has no choice but to band more closely together as competitors sprint ahead on electric cars. The three companies are leaning into the advantages conferred by their combined scale as they seek to bounce back from the pandemic’s hit to global auto sales and to compete against rivals that have more aggressively pursued the battery-vehicle market, including upstarts like Tesla and traditional rivals like Volkswagen. Looking forward, the three companies in the alliance unveiled a plan to invest almost $26 billion into the joint development of new battery electric vehicles, with plans to add 35 models to their lineups by 2030.
Persons: Carlos Ghosn, Organizations: Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi, Thursday, Volkswagen Locations: France, Japan
Akos Stiller | Bloomberg via Getty ImagesRisk of death from Covid-19 is significantly higher in countries ruled by populist governments, a new study has found. They found that excess mortality was, on average, more than twice as high in populist-governed countries than in non-populist governed countries. For every 100 expected deaths in non-populist countries, Covid caused an additional 8 deaths, researchers found. But in populist-led countries, Covid led to an additional 18 deaths for every 100 non-Covid deaths. Populist governments' communications on Covid were also "designed to downplay the severity of the pandemic and to discredit scientific findings," the Kiel Institute, a German think tank involved in the research, found.
Persons: Viktor Orban, Hungary's, Akos Stiller, Donald Trump, Covid Organizations: Fidesz, Bloomberg, Getty, U.S, Populist, Kiel Institute Locations: Budapest, Hungary, Covid, U.S, Brazil, Czech Republic, India, Israel, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Japan, Canada, Sweden, German
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 25, 2022. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterNasdaq futures rose 2% after Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) jumped in pre-market trading, as the tech giant forecast revenue for the current quarter broadly ahead of Wall Street targets. The MSCI world index (.MIWD00000PUS) rose 0.35%, European shares (.STOXX) climbed 1.97% and Britain's FTSE 100 (.FTSE) gained 1.71%. However, Ukraine and Russia's government bonds rallied, with political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany due to hold talks in Paris. China's blue-chip index (.CSI300) hit its lowest since October 2020 before backing up to close 0.72% higher.
Persons: Brendan McDermid, Fahad Kamal, Goldman Sachs, Sebastien Galy, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, Brent, Kristina Hooper, Andriy Yermak, Sujata Rao, Stella Qiu, Alun John, Kim Coghill, Chizu Organizations: New York Stock Exchange, REUTERS, Nasdaq, Federal Reserve, Microsoft Corp, FTSE, Goldman, Nordea Asset Management, Bank of Canada, Omicron, Japan's Nikkei, Thomson Locations: New York City, U.S, Russia, Ukraine, Wall, Europe, France, Germany, Paris, Asia, Pacific, Japan, London, Beijing, Hong Kong
Nidec posted an operating profit of 44.3 billion yen ($388.90 million) for the three months to Dec. 31, down from 46.4 billion a year earlier. The result fell short of an average 49.9 billion yen profit estimated by five analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. However, the company stuck to its full-year forecast for operating profit of 190 billion yen. The prediction is lower than an average forecast of 193.5 billion yen based on estimates from 22 analysts, Refinitiv data shows. Nidec will invest 300 billion yen over the next three business years to further bolster EV motor production, Nagamori said.
Persons: Kim Kyung, Hoon TOKYO, Jun Seki, Shigenobu Nagamori, Nidec, Nagamori, Tim Kelly, Subhranshu Sahu, Elaine Hardcastle Organizations: REUTERS, Nidec Corp, Nissan Motor, Refinitiv, EV, Stellantis, Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, China, Europe
The Fed is due to update its policy plan at 1900 GMT after a two-day meeting. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterEuropean shares (.STOXX) climbed 1.47% and Britain's FTSE 100 (.FTSE) gained 1.38%. The dollar index was steady at 96.08 against a basket of major currencies, and the euro was at $1.1286, near one-month lows set on Tuesday. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.7851%, a little below the two-year high of 1.9% hit last week. China's blue-chip (.CSI300) index hit its lowest since October 2020 before reversing to close up 0.72%.
Persons: Goldman Sachs, Sebastien Galy, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, Brent, inched, Hao Hong, Stella Qiu, Alun John, Lincoln, Kim Coghill Organizations: REUTERS, U.S, FTSE, Goldman, Nordea Asset Management, Bank of Canada, Omicron, Treasury, Japan's Nikkei, BOCOM International, Thomson Locations: Frankfurt, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, U.S, Europe, Asia, Pacific, Japan, Beijing, Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past a Toshiba Corp logo outside an electronics retailer in Tokyo, Sept. 14, 2015. REUTERS/Toru HanaiTOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp on Wednesday said it had partially restarted production at a semiconductor plant in Oita, southern Japan, that was halted after a strong earthquake hit the area at the weekend. One of the two production lines at the factory was restarted on Wednesday, Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corp said in a statement. The plant makes system LSI chips, around 60% of which are sold to automakers and industrial machinery makers. The company also makes those chips at a factory in northern Japan, with other domestic producers, such as Renesas Electronics Corp, also building the devices.
Persons: Toru Hanai Organizations: Toshiba Corp, REUTERS, Wednesday, Toshiba Electronic Devices, Storage Corp, Renesas Electronics Corp Locations: Tokyo, Toru Hanai TOKYO, Oita, Japan
Japan's Nikkei (.N225) pared some early losses to trade 0.37% lower, hovering around its lowest level since Dec. 2020. "We expect the Fed meeting, however, will not add to volatility. Growing tensions as Russian troops massed on Ukraine's border have added to a risk-averse environment for investors. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.7743%, a little below the two-year high of 1.9% hit last week. FRXU.S. crude dipped 0.4% to $85.22 a barrel, and Brent crude fell 0.25% to $87.96 per barrel, as investors booked profits from recent highs.
Persons: Issei Kato, Jan, Mansoor Mohi, uddin, Mohi, Hong, Hao Hong, Brent, Stella Qiu, Alun John, Lincoln, Kim Coghill Organizations: Nikkei, REUTERS, U.S . Federal, Japan's Nikkei, FTSE, Nasdaq, Bank of Singapore, Nomura, Research, BOCOM International, U.S, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, China, Asia, BEIJING, Pacific, Europe, U.S, Russia, Ukraine, FRX
SINGAPORE — Japan markets were poised to trade muted at the open on Wednesday, after U.S. equities tumbled overnight in another volatile session as investors await the Fed meeting statement later stateside. Both the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago and Osaka were at 27,150, relatively unchanged from the Nikkei 225's last close at 27,131.34. Markets in Australia and India are closed for holidays on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its global growth forecast for this year as rising Covid-19 cases, supply chain disruptions and higher inflation hamper economic recovery. It said in a report published Tuesday that it expects global gross domestic product to weaken from 5.9% in 2021 to 4.4% in 2022 — with this year's figure being half a percentage point lower than previously estimated.
Organizations: Nikkei, International Monetary Fund Locations: SINGAPORE, Japan, Chicago, Osaka, Australia, India
WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy said on Tuesday it was making arrangements to recover an F-35C warplane that fell into the South China Sea after a landing mishap this week. Seven U.S. military personnel were hurt in Monday's accident on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and the pilot ejected, the Navy said. An F-35 from Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in November, though the pilot ejected and was safely returned to the ship. The U.S. Navy said the pilot ejected safely in Monday's incident, but was among the personnel hurt. The Pentagon says two Carrier Strike Groups, led by the Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea on Sunday.
Persons: Jan, Carl Vinson, Nicholas Lingo, Lingo, Lockheed Martin, Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Abraham Lincoln, David Brunnstrom, Himani Sarkar Organizations: U.S . Navy, Seven U.S, Navy, U.S . 7th Fleet, Lockheed, Britain's, Britain's Ministry of Defence, Pentagon, Groups, Thomson Locations: China, South China, People's Republic of China, Korean, Japan, South, Taiwan
"There's a chance year-on-year growth in consumer inflation may briefly approach 2%. At the January meeting, the BOJ raised its price forecasts but said it was in no rush to change its ultra-loose policy with inflation still distant from its target. read moreJapan has not been immune to impact of global commodity inflation with wholesale prices rising at a record pace. Others, however, were sceptical that inflation will sustainably accelerate towards the BOJ's target. "It will be difficult to achieve the BOJ's price target by the end of fiscal 2023," the summary quoted one board member as saying.
Persons: Kim Kyung, There's, Leika Kihara, Chang, Ran Kim, Richard Pullin, Kenneth Maxwell Our Organizations: Bank of Japan, REUTERS, Bank, Japan, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, TOKYO
China flexes to bring home Olympic tech gold
  + stars: | 2022-01-26 | by ( Robyn Mak | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
Beijing is also keen to prove its growing prowess in digital currencies and hydrogen energy. During the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, South Korea offered audiences an early glimpse of 5G wireless technologies developed by local titans including Samsung Electronics (005930.KS). Inside, athletes and roughly 20,000 local volunteers and staff are subject to daily Covid-19 tests and a smartphone app to track and monitor their health. It's part of an ambitious plan read more to have 10,000 hydrogen vehicles on the road in Beijing by 2025. CONTEXT NEWS- The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games are scheduled to begin on Feb. 4.
Persons: Thomas Peter HONG KONG, Jan, Antony Currie, Katrina Hamlin Organizations: Big, Beijing, REUTERS, Reuters, titans, Samsung Electronics, Brands, China, Twitter Locations: Shougang, Beijing, China, South Korea, Japan, China's, It's
The Nikkei share average (.N225) closed down 0.44% at 27,011.33, after touching a 13-month low earlier in the session. U.S. stocks whipsawed between steep losses and modest gains before ending well off session lows, with rate-sensitive tech stocks weighing most heavily. "Looking at the sell-off today, the market is expecting a hawkish move and the point is how hawkish the Fed will be." Technology heavyweights fell, with semiconductor and electronics company Tokyo Electron (8035.T) losing 0.81%, robot maker Fanuc (6954.T) falling 3.29% and phone operator KDDI dropping 2.57%. read moreGame maker Nintendo (7974.T) climbed 4.36% after Nomura Securities rated its shares "buy".
Persons: Takatoshi Itoshima, Fanuc, Maruti Suzuki, Junko Fujita, Subhranshu Sahu, Sherry Jacob, Phillips Organizations: Nikkei, Federal, Pictet Asset Management, Technology, Tokyo, Toyota, Nintendo, Nomura Securities, SoftBank, Nvidia, Arm Ltd, Thomson Locations: TOKYO, Ukraine
Ukraine's ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky walks past a map showing Russia and Ukraine as he arrives at his news conference venue in Tokyo, Japan, January 26, 2022. Korsunsky warned an attack on a country with more than a dozen nuclear reactors would bring about a devastating regional impact on Europe. "I believe that full-scale war is very, very, very difficult to expect, but we may see more localised conflict," Korsunsky told a news conference in the Japanese capital Tokyo. Russia's Ambassador to Australia, Alexey Pavlovsky, said on Wednesday that Russia did not plan to invade Ukraine. "Our troops on the border...These troops are not a threat, they are a warning.
Persons: Japan Sergiy Korsunsky, Kim Kyung, Hoon TOKYO, Sergiy Korsunsky, Korsunsky, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, Alexey Pavlovsky, Pavlovsky, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Lidia Kelly, Clarence Fernandez, Michael Perry Organizations: REUTERS, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Thomson Locations: Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Tokyo, Europe, Moscow, U.S, Australia, Melbourne
The Series A funding also includes investments from crypto investment firm Paradigm and Multicoin Capital. Chicago-based FTX US was launched in 2020 by former Wall Street high frequency trading executives, and competes with leading crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance. In October, FTX US acquired LedgerX in a move to expand into crypto futures and options trading. FTX US had an average daily volume of about $360 million in the third quarter, according to the company. Its users increased by 52% quarter over quarter, though the company has declined to share how many users it has overall.
Persons: Edgar Su Jan, Brett Harrison, Harrison, Hannah Lang, Himani Sarkar Organizations: REUTERS, Japan's SoftBank Group Corp, Singapore's Temasek Holdings, Multicoin, Venture, Wall, FTX, Citadel Securities, Thomson Locations: U.S, Chicago, Washington
Nidec posts lower quarterly profit as costs rise
  + stars: | 2022-01-26 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonTOKYO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Nidec Corp (6594.T), a Japanese maker of electric motors, on Wednesday said third-quarter operating profit dipped as rising material prices and a shortage of semiconductors pushed up costs. The company posted an operating profit of 44.3 billion yen ($388.90 million) for the three months to Dec. 31, down from 46.4 billion a year earlier. The result fell short of an average 49.9 billion yen profit estimated by five analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. The company stuck to its full-year forecast for operating profit of 190 billion yen. The prediction is lower than an average forecast of 193.5 billion yen based on estimates from 22 analysts, Refinitiv data shows.
Persons: Kim Kyung, Hoon TOKYO, Tim Kelly, Clarence Fernandez, Subhranshu Organizations: REUTERS, Nidec Corp, Refinitiv, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, Serbia
REUTERS/Akira TomoshigeTOKYO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The maker of Japan's Umaibo corn puff is raising prices for the first time, in a shock for fans of the "miracle" snack beloved for decades for its crunch and 10-yen price tag. It marks the first such increase since the snack - whose name means "delicious stick" - went on sale in 1979. In addition to higher raw material costs, Japanese companies are also being squeezed as the weak yen drives up import costs. Takeshi Nemoto, who has been in charge of purchasing snacks at Tokyo snack shop Kawahara Shoten for decades, said other manufacturers may have to follow suit with higher prices. His band, Uchikubi Gokumon Doukoukai, paid homage to the snack in a 2010 song that included lyrics about Umaibo's "miracle price".
Persons: Akira Tomoshige TOKYO, Noriko, Naomi Hosaka, Takeshi Nemoto, Umaibo, Atsushi Osawa, Gokumon Doukoukai, Kantaro Komiya, Akira Tomoshige, David Dolan, Tom Hogue Organizations: REUTERS, Yaokin, Reuters, Shoten, Twitter, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, West
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