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Bank of Japan offers interest-free loans

The Bank of Japan on Friday outlined a new loan facility to banks that are lending to projects or companies tackling climate change, as the country tries to speed up its clean energy shift and steps up efforts to reduce emissions. The move came after the central bank said on June 18 that it would introduce the new facility this year. Specific details will be hammered out by autumn and the program will begin by the end of the year. The program is intended as a successor to the outgoing facility for promoting growth-supporting loans, which is due to end in June 2022. Under the growth-supporting lending facility, the BOJ has provided 0.1% loans for up to four years to banks that have financed projects that are deemed to contribute to economic growth. The facility has an outstanding balance of some 7.5 trillion yen ($68 billion) in loans. The new climate lending facility will allow the central bank to lend to commercial banks at zero interest rates for up to one year. The BOJ also offers banks an additional incentive of exemptions from negative interest rates on some of the funds they keep at the central bank account. Economists say that the BOJ is moving in step with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government and its clean energy push. The government intends to ban a sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The issuance of green bonds by Japanese companies has been on the rise, reaching almost $10 billion last year. But the amount still pales in comparison to those in the U.S. or Germany. (Nikkei Asia)

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Covid-19 infections are surging in several major Southeast Asian economies, and that has led Goldman Sachs to cut its 2021 growth forecasts for most of the region. The spread of the more transmissible delta variant has pushed daily Covid cases to record highs in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in recent weeks. That has led to more stringent restrictions in Indonesia and Thailand, and an extension of restrictions in Malaysia, Goldman economists wrote in a Thursday note. In the Philippines, the coronavirus spread has made loosening of social-distancing measures “more unlikely” this year, the economists added. Renewed virus surges and tighter restrictions are likely to “weigh significantly more” on growth in the second half of 2021 than previously thought, the economists said. Goldman slashed its growth forecasts by more than 100 basis points for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines. Singapore and Thailand saw a smaller cut by the bank. (CNBC)

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Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) vehicle registrations in California rose more than 85% in the second quarter versus last year, largely due to the success of the company’s Model Y, according to data from Cross-Sell, a research firm that collates title and registration data. The automaker posted record vehicle deliveries for the Aprilto-June quarter earlier this month, as it dealt with a semiconductor shortage and relied on sales of its cheaper models. California registrations for the Model Y, Tesla’s electric crossover utility vehicle, jumped more than sevenfold to 13,581, Cross-Sell data showed on Thursday. The focus is now on the company’s second-quarter earnings report due on July 26, with investors waiting to gauge if bitcoin’s recent fall would hit Tesla’s bottom line, due to its exposure to the cryptocurrency’s volatility. Total second-quarter vehicle registrations in the 23 states where data was collected stood at 46,926, with Model Y accounting for more than half of the registrations. California, a bellwether for the electric-car maker, accounted for about half of the vehicle registrations in these states with a total of 23,556 registrations, CrossSell data showed. (Reuters) mannyrabacal1144@ gmail.com