Sat, Nov 06, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs 

AGENCIES

Foreign reserves at record high

Taiwan's foreign-currency reserves, the third-highest in the world, rose last month for a 40th month to a record US$235 billion, the central bank said.

The reserves, which rank behind those of Japan and China, rose from US$233 billion in September, according to the Central Bank of China in Taipei. The agency cited an appreciation by the euro and the Japanese yen against the US dollar and returns from foreign-exchange management as reasons for the increase.

Tension bad for chip industry

The cross-Taiwan Strait situation will affect the development of the semiconductor industry, which will in turn impact the global economy, a US business leader said yesterday.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said that if tension across the Taiwan Strait escalates, the semiconductor industries in both Taiwan and mainland China will be affected and consequently have an adverse impact on the world's overall economy.

Almost all of the multinational telecom and high-technology big names have come to rely on Taiwan and the mainland for electronic components, parts and hardware, Hammond-Chambers said, adding that this is doomed to trigger a domino effect if the cross-strait situation worsens.

Hammond-Chambers said that he has noticed that over the past year, the mainland has continued to build up its military capability while refusing to renounce the option of force to address the cross-strait differences. This is indeed a source of anxiety for business circles, he said.

The issue will be elaborated upon further during the 2nd semiconductor industry meeting, which will be held in San Jose, California, Dec. 7 under the joint auspices of the US-Taiwan Business Council and the Taiwan-US Business Council, Hammond-Chambers said.

Kaohsiung port volume climbs

The container volume of the offshore transshipping center of Kaohsiung Port is expected to rise 10 percent this year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday. The volume of containers handled by the transshipping center has increased every year since it started operations in April 1997, MOTC officials said.

While the container volume amounted to some 127,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 1997, it rose to 400,000 TEUs in 1998, the officials pointed out. With the volume continuing to expand, it reached 2.91 million TEUs last year and stood at 3.41 million TEUs as of the end of September this year, they noted.

Meanwhile, the volume of the center's joint sea-air freight services amounted to 86,000 kg in 2001, the year the services were first launched, the officials went on. The volume of the services increased to 1.3 million kg last year and further rose to 1.87 million kg as of the end of September this year, they added.

Investment in nation to rise

Prudential Plc, Barclays Capital Group, General Motors Corp and other international companies are committed to increasing investment in this country, the Commercial Times reported, citing Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Kong Jaw-sheng (龔照勝).

Kong, said the US company will continue to look for acquisitions in Taiwan and may increase its stake in Taiwan's Bowa Bank (寶華銀行), the Taipei-based paper said.

Kong also met officials from British reinsurance company Lloyd's, who expressed interest in opening an office in Taiwan.

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