Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 11 News List

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Chip sales to shrink: report

Worldwide sales of semiconductors will shrink 2 percent next year in a correction to years of strong sales, research firm IDC said in a report released Thursday.

The report said that total sales for this year will be about US$210 billion, representing worldwide revenue growth of 26 percent. The strong sales will stall next year but will resume the year after, fed by a continuation of the corporate PC and mobile phone replacement cycles and growing demand for consumer electronics, the report said.

"The correction was brought on by production plans that outstripped real demand," said Mario Morales, vice president of Semiconductor Research at IDC, who said that strong sales drives by computer makers had reduced pent-up demand.

The report also noted that the electronic devices industries were fast maturing and that companies were increasingly looking at new ways to implement existing technologies rather than developing new ones.

"Usage models are overtaking pure technology as the basis for many design decisions and innovation," IDC said.

Forex reserves reach record

The nation's foreign exchange reserves hit a record US$239.13 billion at the end of last month, the central bank said yesterday.

The reserves, which trail those of Japan and China, were up from the US$235.03 billion at the end of October and up US$32.5 billion from the end of 2003, the bank said in a statement.

The increase mainly reflected returns from foreign exchange reserve management, net foreign capital inflows and the euro and yen's appreciation against the US dollar, it added.

Oil prices 20 percent higher

Imported oil cost an average of US$34.1 per barrel in the first nine months of this year, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported Thursday.

The average price for the January-September period represents a rise of 20.9 percent from a year ago, the DGBAS said.

The country's oil imports totaled US$9.24 billion in value in the same period, an increase of 40 percent year-to-year, it added.

The nation consumed a total of 110 million kl of oil and other fuel in the first nine months, up by 11.9 percent compared to the year-earlier amount, according to DGBAS. Some 99.18 million kl of energy sources were imported.

CMC to collaborate with Fox

News Corp's Twentieth Century Fox unit and CMC Magnetics Corp (中環) plan to make horror movies, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing CMC Chairman Bob Wong (翁明顯).

A CMC entertainment unit will invest several hundred million NT dollars in the venture, which will release its first film in Asia next August, the newspaper said.

Moody's Investors Service on Nov. 29 gave its first ever credit rating to CMC, the world's largest maker of recordable discs used to store music, videos and computer files.

The Ba3 rating is three levels below investment grade.

CMC had a NT$128 million (US$4 million) third-quarter net loss after a NT$2.1 billion profit a year earlier. Prices of recordable DVD discs plunged by half in September from March on excess production, according to Taiwan Rating Corp (中華信評) analyst Tony Tsai (蔡東松).

NT dollar heads south

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded lower against its US counterpart, with the biggest decline in more than a year.

The local currency declined NT$0.21 to close at NT$32.200 against the greenback on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$864.5 million.

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