Fri, Feb 07, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

Agencies

Consumer price rises

Consumer prices in January rose from a year earlier on strong demand for goods ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, the island's most festive annual celebration, the government said yesterday. The consumer price index increased by 0.75 percent on year last month, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said. The index is a measurement of changes in the retail prices of a constant market basket of goods and services. The wholesale price index -- a gauge of production cost -- rose 4.27 percent on year in January, slightly lower than the 4.65 percent year-on-year increase a month earlier, said the agency, the government's chief statistician. The government cited higher prices for crude oil, petrochemicals and steel for the rise in the WPI.

Sunplus to buy Oak unit

Sunplus Technology Co (凌揚科技), Taiwan's fourth-largest chip designer, will buy a chipmaking unit of rival Oak Technology Inc for US$30 million, expanding its customer base to makers of DVD players and personal computers. Sunplus will pay US$16 million in cash and the equivalent of US$14 million in Sunplus stock, the companies said in a statement. Sunplus aims to supply makers of DVD players in China. Sichuan Changhong Electric Co and other Chinese makers of DVD players provided most of the world's output last year. They were able to combine cheap labor costs with chips from Taiwan suppliers that are cheaper and are more powerful than those from US suppliers such as ESS Technology and Oak. Sunplus will face competition from rivals such as MediaTek Inc (聯發科技), analysts said. Sunplus will combine the functions of an Oak DVD chip with one of its own to compete with Taiwan rival MediaTek, the world's largest designer of chips for DVD players. MediaTek was the first company to combine several DVD chips into one so-called single chip, helping cut manufacturing costs.

SIS enjoys rosy January sales

Silicon Integrated System Corp (矽統), the world's third-largest maker of computer chipsets, said January sales rose 49 percent from a year earlier. Sales rose to NT$1.8 billion (US$52 million) from a year ago. Sales increased 42 percent from NT$1.2 billion in the previous month, the company said in a statement.

Quanta posts profit decline

Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), Taiwan's biggest notebook-computer maker, posted an unexpected profit decline in the fourth quarter. Net income fell to NT$2.76 billion (US$79 million) from NT$2.82 billion in the year-earlier quarter. The average forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of five analysts was profit of NT$3.2 billion. For 2002, the company posted net income of NT$10.8 billion.

NT dollar dips amid war fears

The new Taiwan dollar fell against its US counterpart on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, losing NT$0.031 to close at NT$34.734. A total of US$497 million changed hands. Taiwan's currency fell on speculation companies will be selling it for US dollars needed to buy oil, stocking up on crude after a one-week holiday. Demand for oil and the dollars needed to buy it may also rise amid concern a possible US attack against Iraq will disrupt supplies from the Middle East, traders said. Crude oil has risen 70 percent in the past year as the US said it is preparing to attack Iraq, fueling dollar demand from importers. Trading resumed today after the Lunar New Year holiday. "The Taiwan dollar will fall," said Chris Lin, a currency trader at Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行). "Under circumstances where oil prices will rise, demand for the US dollar will increase."

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