Fri, Nov 26, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs 

AGENCIES

Money supply expands

The nation's money supply expanded last month at its slowest pace in nine months as exports flagged, reducing Taiwan's foreign-exchange earnings.

M2, the broadest measure of the country's money supply, rose 6.8 percent from a year earlier, the central bank said in a statement yesterday. Taiwan's economy grew 5.3 percent in the third quarter, its slowest pace in a year as high energy costs, interest rate increases in the US and lending curbs in China damped overseas demand for the nation's goods. The country posted its first trade deficit in four years in June and export orders rose last month at their slowest pace in nine months.

Loans and investments by major financial institutions rose 8.1 percent last month after climbing 7.1 percent in September, the statement said. Lending picked up mainly because banks provided more loans to the government, it said.

Renminbi exchange studied

A government plan to open renminbi exchange in Kinmen and Matsu on a trial basis is based on the future needs and development of the frontline islands, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said yesterday.

Chiu said the government started to study the plan a few months ago in view of the rising needs of Chinese visitors to Kinmen and Matsu after the launch of direct ferry services between the islands and the Chinese ports of Fuzhou and Xiamen.

Chiu said the Central Bank of China and the Financial Supervisory Commission are currently assessing the exchange amount to be allowed.

Despite the lack of a currency settlement system between Taiwan and China, several domestic banks with branches on Kinmen and Matsu, including the Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and the Land Bank (土地銀行), have expressed an interest in operating renminbi exchange services, Chiu pointed out.

Digital TV ripe for chipmakers

The nation's chipmakers should beef up their pace to tap into the fast-growing digital TV market, a government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院) said in a symposium yesterday.

Demand for set-top boxes is surging ,fueled by growing digital broadcasting around the world, especially emerging markets like China, said Hsieh Meng-shien (謝孟玹) an analyst with the research house.

"It's a market with a lot of potential. Gross margins for such chips are as high as 30 percent," Hsieh said.

Demand for set-top boxes transmitting ground digital signals is expected to jump to 10.96 million units next year, up 12 percent from 9.77 million last year, Hsieh said.

Tingyi profits rise 13 percent

Tingyi Holding Corp (頂益控股), a Taiwan-funded food company listed in Hong Kong, said third-quarter profit rose 13 percent amid record sales at its beverage unit, driven by sales of brands such as Master Kong Green Tea in China.

Net income rose to US$19.7 million, or US$0.35, from US$17.3 million, or US$0.31, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales gained 18 percent to US$426 million.

Shares in Tingyi have fallen 10 percent this year, compared with an 11 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Yesterday, they rose 0.6 percent to HK$1.64.

New Taiwan dollar gains

The New Taiwan dollar advanced against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, gaining NT$0.148 to close at NT$32.239.

A total of US$1.369 billion changed hands.

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