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CPI rises 0.81%, highest in 14 months

By Crystal Hsu

The nation’s consumer price index (CPI) gained 0.81 percent last month from a year earlier, rising at the fastest pace in 14 months, as Lunar New Year demand drove up food costs, and the effect might be more evident this month, the Directorate-General of Budget,FULL STORY

Hon Hai’s annual, monthly sales fall by double digits

By Lauly Li

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), one of the main assemblers of Apple Inc’s iPhones, yesterday reported a double-digit percentage decline in annual sales as well as those for last month, citing a slow season. Sales for last month was NT$337.6 billion (US$10.17 billion), plummetingFULL STORY

Formosa Plastics Group’s main units hit by crude oil slump

By Ted Chen

Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團), the nation’s largest industrial conglomerate, yesterday said aggregate sales by its four main units continued to dip last month amid falling international crude oil prices. In addition, the outlook in the near term remains less promising, as downstream clients have maintainedFULL STORY

New technologies still too small to offset HTC losses

By Lauly Li

Despite HTC Corp (宏達電) saying it had high hopes for its virtual reality (VR) headset and other Internet-connected devices, analysts said the new businesses are still too small to offset the losses in the company’s smartphone business. “Fundamentally, we do not believe its VR [headset]FULL STORY

Taiwan Financial aims to increase revenue by at least 5 percent this year

By Crystal Hsu

State-owned Taiwan Financial Holding Co (臺灣金控) aims to increase its revenue by 5 to 10 percent this year, driven by non-interest income, as it is cautious about lending operations, top executives said. The bank-focused conglomerate announced the goal after posting a record pretax income of NT$10.51FULL STORY

Banks’ earnings contract on Chinese branch woes

By Ted Chen

Pre-tax earnings by Taiwan’s banks last year contracted for the first time in nearly a decade, with their Chinese branches bearing the brunt of rising volatility and economic uncertainties, Financial Supervisory Commission data showed. Last year, earnings by banks’ Chinese branches dropped 45.8 percent fromFULL STORY

Taiwan steps up easing via market operations

The central bank cut the rate on 14-day certificates of deposit in its second easing move in a week after the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) adoption of negative interest rates supported the New Taiwan dollar. The nation’s central bank lowered the rate on the debt itFULL STORY

Chinese insurance curb extended to Visa, MasterCard

The Chinese crackdown on the flow of funds into insurance products in Hong Kong has been extended to global credit-card firms Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc. Domestic banks that issue the two providers’ cards will now be required to impose a US$5,000 cap on insurance purchasesFULL STORY

Taiwan Business Briefs

Forex reserves fall in January Foreign exchange reserves totaled US$425.98 billion as of the end of last month, a decrease of US$53 million from a month earlier, the central bank said yesterday. The main factor behind the decrease was that returns from the management of reserveFULL STORY

Indonesian stocks rise most in Asia

Indonesia’s benchmark stock index rallied to a six-month high and the rupiah rebounded after the nation’s economic growth beat analyst estimates, as the government stepped up measures to boost state spending and lure foreign investment. The Jakarta Composite Index rose 2.3 percent to 4,774.68 at theFULL STORY

RBA sees faster growth despite risks from China

Australia’s central bank maintained its forecast of accelerating growth in response to easy policy, even as risks around key trading partner China cast a shadow over the regional economic outlook. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) trimmed its inflation forecast for the year through June andFULL STORY

Toyota’s nine-month net profit jumps to US$16bn

Toyota Motor Corp yesterday said nine-month net profit jumped about 10 percent to ¥1.9 trillion (US$16 billion), despite falling sales in most regions, with the world’s top automaker focused on squeezing more productivity out of its plants. The Corolla and Prius maker also slightly raised itsFULL STORY

ArcelorMittal suffers US$7.9bn loss

ArcelorMittal SA reported yesterday a net loss of about US$8 billion for last year, pummelled by falling commodity prices, but the world’s largest steelmaker said it was making progress on cutting costs. More than half of the loss was due to writing down in its booksFULL STORY

World Bank says wars, cheap oil hurting Middle East

The World Bank said on Thursday that last year’s economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa likely came to just 2.6 percent, falling short of a 2.8 percent forecast in October last year as war, terrorism and cheap oil took their toll. In aFULL STORY

Lag in emerging markets a global risk: IMF chief

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde on Thursday said that the slowdown in emerging-market economies could lead to rising inequalities in the global economy. In the wake of China’s cooling economy and the steep fall in commodity prices, the emerging-market economies are seeing growth falter and areFULL STORY

World Business Quick Take

ELECTRONICS Toshiba shares dive Toshiba Corp shares dropped to a 36-year low in Tokyo yesterday after the company widened its annual loss forecast to a record ¥710 billion (US$6 billion) as the Japanese industrial group restructures in the wake of an accounting scandal. Shares fell 11 percentFULL STORY

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