Sat, Dec 06, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Brief

AGENCIES

■ Consumer prices down

Consumer prices fell last month as retailers slashed the prices of personal computers and electronic game devices, while gasoline and food costs dropped.

Prices fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent from the previous month after rising 0.5 percent in October, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said in a statement.

"Personal computers and electronic games prices have been falling all along because of competition and the declines weighed more as promotional sales increased," bureau Director Chen Chang-shang (陳昌雄) said.

Fuel and transport prices fell 0.1 percent last month, while the cost of food and drink, which accounts for about a quarter of Taiwan's consumer price index, fell 1.8 percent.

Clothing prices rose 1.4 percent last month on an unadjusted basis from October, the statement said. Housing rentals, which make up about a fifth of the index, were little changed.

The wholesale price index last month rose 0.9 percent from October on a seasonally adjusted basis. Wholesale prices rose 1.1 percent from a year earlier and consumer prices fell 0.5 percent, the statistics agency said.

■ Forex reserves soar

Foreign exchange reserves reached their 27th consecutive month of record levels last month, the central bank said yesterday.

The reserves rose to NT$6.91 trillion (US$202.83 billion) at the end of last month, up NT$212 billion (US$6.22 billion) from October, the bank said.

This 27th consecutive month of record foreign exchange reserves surpassed the NT$6.68 trillion (US$196.61 billion) recorded at the end of October.

The reserves, the third highest in the world after Japan and China, rose NT$1.40 trillion (US$41.18 billion) during the first 11 months of the year, the bank said.

The bank attributed the increase to net foreign equity fund inflows totaling NT$801 billion (US$23.5 billion), a stronger euro and Japanese yen against the US dollar, and investment income.

■ Quanta to build new plant

Quanta Display Inc (廣輝電子) will spend NT$80 billion (US$2.3 billion) to build a flat-panel display plant that will start making television screens in 2005, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing unidentified company executives.

Quanta Display will raise as much as NT$50 billion next year in overseas and domestic share sales as well as bank loans to build the plant, the report said.

Quanta Display will be the fourth Taiwanese company, following rivals AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) and HannStar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶), to start building a so-called sixth-generation plant, which can make TV screens as large as 37 inches diagonally, the paper said.

■ Taiwan cellphone leader

Taiwan leads the world in mobile phone users as a percentage of the population, according to the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

In its World Telecommunication Development Report for this year, the union said there are 106.15 subscribers per 100 people in Taiwan, or 106.15 percent of its population, which ranks the nation first among the 182 economies covered in the report.

Luxemburg is a close second, only 0.1 percentage points behind Taiwan.

■ NT dollar weakens

The NT dollar yesterday turned weaker against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.006 to close at NT$34.104 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$298 million.

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