International News 12/02

February 12, 2024 No. 20

Aggressive Expansion, JPMorgan to Open 500 New Bank Branches in the Next 3 Years.

JPMorgan Chase has announced plans to expand its branch network in the US, with more than 500 new branches to be added by 2027. The bank's multi-billion dollar investment will see new branches opening in cities such as Boston, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. While the exact amount of the investment was not disclosed, JPMorgan's aggressive expansion strategy contrasts with other banks scaling back their branches. The bank currently has the largest branch network in the country, with 4,897 branches as of the end of 2023. The expansion is supported by a strong consumer base and increased revenue from interest payments. The new branches will offer private consultation areas for customers and will not rely on traditional teller lines for customer interaction.

DocuSign is set to lay off 400 employees, as the wave of layoffs in the tech industry continues.

DocuSign has announced that it will cut around 400 jobs, representing approximately 6% of its workforce. These layoffs are part of a growing trend in the tech industry, where many companies are reducing their staff. The majority of the job cuts at DocuSign will be in the sales and marketing division. The announcement of the layoffs follows reports that private equity firms Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman, who were considering purchasing DocuSign, had ceased negotiations due to disagreements over the acquisition price. Consequently, DocuSign's shares fell by 8% on Monday and by approximately 4% on Tuesday. The company anticipates expenses of approximately $28-32 million related to the restructuring plan. Amazon, Alphabet, and Microsoft are among several other tech and media companies that have recently announced layoffs.

US Crude Oil Exports to Asia Decline in January Due to High Shipping Costs

In January, US crude oil exports to Asia hit their lowest point in over two years, with only 1 million barrels per day being shipped. This decline is due to high freight rates and more competitive oil prices from the Middle East. The sharp increase in supertanker freight rates earlier in the month made shipments to Asia, particularly China, more expensive. Specifically, exports to China fell to their lowest level in 13 months, at 190,000 barrels per day. Export volumes to South Korea remained steady at 494,000 bpd, while US oil exports overall fell to 3.8 million barrels per day, the lowest in a year. It is interesting to note that Europe saw an increase in oil exports from the US, accounting for 55% of the total in January. However, Asia's share dropped to 27%, the lowest since December 2016. Despite the turmoil in the Red Sea, US crude imports from the Middle East remained stable. Most shipments were directed towards the US West Coast via the Pacific Ocean.

Honda is recalling more than 750,000 vehicles in the United States.

American Honda Motor Co has recalled more than 750,000 vehicles in the US due to a defect that can cause the airbags to inflate accidentally during a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that the issue arises from a crack and short-circuit in the front passenger seat weight sensor, which prevents the airbag from deploying correctly. The recall affects specific models of Honda vehicles manufactured between 2020 and 2022, including the Pilot, Accord, and Civic sedans, as well as selected CR-V and Passport vehicles built between 2020 and 2021. This is not Honda's first recall, as the company previously recalled 4.5 million vehicles worldwide, including 2.54 million in the US, due to fuel pump failure.