■ Consumer confidence slips
Consumer confidence dropped slightly from last month's 76.95 points to 75.86 points this month, according to a report released yesterday by the Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development at National Central University.
The decline was mainly caused by respondents' lack of confidence in stock investment and consumer price fluctuations in the next six months.
Stock-market prospects saw the biggest dip to 40.8 points -- down from last month's 50.5 points -- hitting its lowest mark since November 2001.
According to the survey conducted between July 18 and July 22, 73.6 percent of the 2,020 respondents voiced pessimism on buying stocks, while 70.8 percent said they were worried that consumer price hikes are looming in the six months to come.
■ Kids saving, not spending
Youngsters born in the 1980s are often assumed to be spendthrifts who can't hold on to money, but a survey released yesterday said this stereotype is incorrect.
The online poll was conducted by the Chinese-language business monthly Smart (智富月刊) between June 20 and July 15 among 1,087 respondents aged from 18 to 23.
Roughly 70 percent of those polled said they wouldn't even ask their parents for money; instead, they said they would choose to save money for purchases.
In terms of average expenditure, 53 percent of them spent less than NT$5,000 per month, while 35 percent spent NT$5,000 to NT$10,000 a month.
However, the survey showed that 21 percent of these young adults incurred debts, mainly student loans, in an early age.
For those who have student loans, up to 27 percent said they owe NT$200,000 to NT$500,000, according to the survey.
■ Chipmakers plan to invest
The nation's four major memory chipmakers plan to invest more than US$10 billion in their businesses to keep up with rivals, Nikkei English News reported.
The move by Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技), Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技) and Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電子) is designed to help the companies keep up with large investments by Japanese and South Korean rivals, Nikkei said.
Taiwan has about 20 percent of the global double-data-rate dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip market.
The companies' investments in production capacity are likely to lead to an oversupply and to cause a shakeup of the industry, Nikkei said.
Powerchip is likely to invest about US$2.1 billion, ProMOS will invest about US$4.5 billion, Nanya is seeking funding of about US$2 billion and Winbond has started investing about US$1.5 billion, Nikkei said.
■ ECCT tops 300 firms
The European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT) said in a statement yesterday that its corporate membership has passed 300 for the first time.
ECCT chief executive officer Guy Wittich attributed the 50 percent increase in two years to the chamber's lobbying and networking reputation, and to the fact that it has more committees than Taiwan's other foreign chambers.
"We are the only one in Taipei covering the retail, luxury goods and automobile sectors," Wittich said, and the Automotive Committee is planning to hire its own staff member to help with lobbying efforts, Wittich said.
■ NT dollar up
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned strong against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.014 to close at NT$34.185 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.