■ Industrial output slumps \nTaiwan's industrial output last month was down 3.43 percent from October but up 6.69 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs reported yesterday. \nFor the first 11 months of the year, the nation's industrial output rose 4.78 percent year-on-year. \nFor last month, manufacturing output fell 3.46 percent from October but was up 6.44 percent year-on-year, the ministry said. \nHousing construction last month rose 5.55 percent from October and was up 20.69 percent from the previous year, with approved housing starts down 0.43 percent month-on-month but up 24.12 percent year-on-year, it added. \n■ Foreign investment jumps \nOverseas Chinese and foreign direct investments approved last month totaled US$523.99 million, a stunning increase of 94.02 percent from the previous month, according to the latest tallies released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. \nOfficials said the figure represents the highest monthly increase of the year, showing that a large-scale business conference held in October has successfully solicited foreign direct investment. \nDuring the first 11 months of this year, overseas Chinese and foreign investments amounted to US$2.98 billion, down slightly by 0.62 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said. \nOn outbound investment, approved investment last month was US$288.34 million, up 66.53 percent from the previous month. \n■ GDP growth limited \nThe nation's economy is estimated to have expanded by just 3.2 percent this year, the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a report yesterday. \nThe EIU said growth in the nation's economy this year was dampened by the outbreak of SARS during the second quarter. \n"The spread of the disease resulted in a sharp drop-off in the number of visitor arrivals including the foreign buyers whose orders drive Taiwan's export growth and also damaged the confidence of the island's domestic consumers. But although serious, the economic disruption was short-lived." \nAccording to the EIU's estimate, a broad recovery in both domestic and external demand will result in an acceleration in the GDP growth rate to 5.4 percent next year. \n"The strong growth rate in 2004 partly reflects a base effect. As a result, although growth in 2005 is again expected to be driven by a healthy expansion in domestic and external demand, it will decelerate slightly, to 4.8 percent." \n■ G7 to press on currencies \nAsian currencies will come under stronger pressure to appreciate as finance ministers from the G7 industrialized countries meet in February, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. \nGoldman said the G7 will issue a "similarly worded" statement to the one the group issued on Sept. 20 when it called for more flexible exchange rates. \n"It may well be the noises surrounding the meeting that are more important than the meeting itself," Thomas Stolper and Fiona Lake, economists at the bank, wrote in a research note dated yesterday. "The outcome is likely to be a step up in the pressure put on Asia to relax their exchange regimes." \nThe US dollar has dropped against 12 of the 16 most-traded currencies over the past three months. Among the four currencies that have fallen against the dollar are the New Taiwan dollar and the South Korean won. \n■ NT dollar gains ground \nThe New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned strong against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.008 to close at NT$34.050 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. \nTurnover was US$405 million.
ELECTRIC FARMLAND: TSMC’s proposal to clear 230 hectares of reforested land for what would become Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has generated concerns New rules curbing solar farms built on agricultural land sparked fierce debate at a packed public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, with industry representatives saying that the new restrictions would endanger President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) green energy goals, while agricultural officials emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and the environment. The Tsai administration has set a target to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, by which time it also aims to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, including 6GW from rooftop solar systems and 14GW from ground-mounted solar farms. Although rooftop solar systems are
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted monthly revenue that suggested second-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions on its second-biggest customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為). Apple Inc’s main iPhone chipmaker posted sales of NT$120.88 billion (US$4.08 billion) for last month, up 40.8 percent year-on-year and bringing its revenue for the second quarter to NT$310.7 billion, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expected on average. TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its revenue outlook for this
Record heat is bringing record electricity use this month, after peak electricity consumption yesterday broke all historical records, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said. As the mercury spiked close to 39°C, Taiwan’s electricity consumption reached as high as 37.79 gigawatts (GW) at 1:59pm yesterday, higher than the previous record of 37.53GW, seen just a day prior, the state-run utility said. The top 10 peak consumption records have all occurred in the past three years, Taipower said. As the high temperatures are likely to continue this summer, more records might be set, it said. However, Taipower assured people that there is so far no
BIODEGRADABLE POLYMER: The bank said that its iPass credit card, the first such card issued by a foreign bank, gives it access to stores that do not accept its credit cards DBS Bank Taiwan (星展台灣) yesterday launched its first co-branded credit card with iPass Corp (一卡通票證), and said it expects its credit card business to fully recover in the second half of this year. The new “DBS eco card” is made of polylactic acid — a bio-based biodegradable polymer that can be produced from renewable resources — and is the bank’s first credit card to have the iPass electronic payment function, it said. The partnership would give the bank new business momentum, DBS Bank Taiwan general manager Lim Him-chuan (林鑫川) told a news conference in Taipei. That is because some stores and supermarkets in