Wed, May 21, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

1st-Qtr account surplus widens

Taiwan's current-account surplus widened from a year earlier in the first quarter, boosted by investment income on the central bank's foreign reserves, the central bank said.

The surplus was US$7.2 billion, up from US$7 billion, the central bank said in a statement.

The income surplus, which tracks investment earnings, increased to a quarterly record of US$3.3 billion from US$1.9 billion, the central bank said. Taiwan has the world's third-largest foreign reserves after Japan and China.

China delays anti-dumping action

China postponed implementation of anti-dumping measures on cold-rolled steel products from some Asian and European countries, the government said.

China will delay taking action against imports of the products from Russia, South Korea, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Taiwan even though the government claims they sold at below cost in China, cutting the profit of local producers, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Commission OKs investments

The Investment Commission yesterday approved 344 foreign investment plans in Taiwan in the first four months of this year, an increase of 6.17 percent over the same period last year. These projects are expected to bring in US$739.64 million, sliding by 20.59 percent compared to the same period last year.

The commission further gave a green light to 659 investment projects in China for the first four months of the year, which account for US$1.42 billion. The number of approved cases and capital grow 68.97 percent and 73.62 percent respectively compared to the same period last year.

Chi Mei plans share sales

Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp(奇美電子), Taiwan's second-largest maker of flat-panel displays for

personal computers, said it plans to sell 1 billion new shares, raising a possible NT$22 billion (US$635 million) to fund expansion.

The company plans to sell 500 million new shares overseas, Chi Mei said in a statement following an annual meeting of shareholders yesterday.

Chi Mei also has approval from local stock authorities to sell another 500 million shares domestically between next month and July, company finance manager Eddie Chen (陳彥松) said.

"The plan for the overseas share sale was approved in yesterday's shareholder meeting," Chen said. "The timing for the overseas sale hasn't been confirmed yet."

The sales together would raise NT$22 billion based on yesterday's closing price per

share of NT$21.90.

Public works spending to double

Taiwan plans to almost double its additional spending on public infrastructure next year, part of a strategy to spur domestic demand and keep deflation at bay, a local newspaper said, citing Vice Premier Lin Hsin-i (林信義).

Taiwan will spend NT$100 billion (US$3 billion) more on public works next year, the paper said. The government, which pushed through the legislature a NT$58.4 billion public works program for this year, will exceed its debt limit next year, the paper said.

The economy is forecast to slow as SARS crimps demand, investment, trade and consumer spending. In January, the legislature passed a budget that estimated a NT$237 billion deficit for this year. The Cabinet is required to keep its borrowings to less than 15 percent of total expenditure a year.

NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded lower against its US counterpart, dropping NT$0.067 to close at NT$34.695 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$490 million.

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