International News 16/04

April 16, 2024 No. 56

Citigroup reduced its workforce in the first quarter but remains optimistic about revenue growth in 2024.

Citigroup expects its revenue to increase by 1.8% to 3% in 2024 after reducing its workforce by 7,000 employees. The bank estimates it can achieve revenue of around $80 billion to $81 billion. In Q1 2024, Citi experienced a 27% decline in profit, with net income falling to $3.4 billion. Although consumer banking revenues increased, the bank also had to account for potential losses from customers who may default on their loans. Non-compliant loans in the credit card division rose by 74%. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser outlined plans to transform the company by reducing bureaucracy, cutting staff, and focusing on core businesses that serve large companies. These changes aim to make Citi more competitive with rivals such as JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The layoffs completed in the first quarter of the year resulted in cost savings of $1.5 billion.


China has relaxed its car loan policy for the first time since 2018 in an effort to boost demand.

China's central bank has revised its car loan policy to promote vehicle trade-ins and eliminate the minimum down payment requirement for consumers buying new cars. This is the first policy revision since early 2018 and is part of the Chinese government's ongoing efforts to boost consumer confidence in the country's largest automotive market. Under the new policy, financial institutions will have the freedom to decide the minimum down payment for petrol-engined cars and new energy vehicles (NEVs). The previous minimums were 15% and 20%, respectively. The central bank stated that financial institutions should evaluate the borrower's credibility and repayment ability when determining down payment amounts, loan terms, and interest rates. Furthermore, the regulator is urging financial institutions to decrease or remove penalties for prepaying loans when trading in a vehicle. Despite this, some analysts have questioned the effectiveness of China's efforts to increase car sales.

South Korea's cosmetic product exports reached a record high in the first quarter of 2024.

South Korea's cosmetic product exports reached a new record of $2.3 billion in the first quarter of 2024, a 21.7% increase compared to the same period last year. This marks the highest first-quarter figure in South Korea's export history. In Q1, China was the top export destination, importing $610 million worth of products, followed by the United States with $380 million, Japan with $240 million, and Vietnam with $150 million. During this period, South Korean cosmetic products were exported to 175 countries. In 2021, sales of South Korean cosmetics abroad reached a record annual high of $9.22 billion. However, due to sluggish demand from China and the Covid-19 pandemic, sales decreased to $7.98 billion in 2022. Demand grew again in 2023 to $8.49 billion. It is estimated that South Korea's cosmetics industry revenue will reach $1.76 billion in 2024.


BYD's electric car sales have surged while Tesla's sales continue to slump.

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, reported strong sales in Q1 2024, indicating fierce competition with Tesla, which has experienced a decline. BYD sold 626,263 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, a 13% increase from the previous year, with over half being pure electric. Despite a decline in the first two months of the year, BYD saw a 46% surge in purchases in March. However, Tesla's shares have fallen by almost 30% this year. This is due to reduced delivery projections for the first quarter, following reports of decreased production at its Shanghai plant. Tesla has been facing mounting competition from Chinese automakers such as BYD, which surpassed it as the world's largest seller of electric vehicles each quarter last year. Competition in the electric vehicle sector is intensifying with the introduction of affordable Chinese electric vehicles into the international market.