Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs 

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Wholesale fuel prices reduced

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), the nation's second-largest oil refiner, yesterday announced that it has lowered the wholesale price of gasoline and fuel oil from midnight Wednesday.

The company cut the price of wholesale gasoline by NT$0.3 per liter, and that of fuel oil by NT$200 per kiloliter. The adjustment was made after international oil prices fell to a stable level, the company said in a statement.

State-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) later yesterday announced the same price cut on its wholesale gasoline, which went into effect at 10pm yesterday.

Acer raises outlook

Acer Inc has raised its revenue and income targets for next year, based on robust growth this year, the company said yesterday.

Acer set its income target for next year at US$190 million and its revenue target at US$9 billion, up 67 percent and 35 percent respectively year-on-year, Acer said in a statement.

Revenue from Acer's IT-product business is forecast to be US$7.35 billion, up 36 percent year-on-year, accounting for 82 percent of Acer's consolidated revenue.

It after-tax profit target is US$229 million, close to this year's figure owing to fewer stock disposals.

Acer raised its target after its January-to-November revenue hit a record high of NT$205.15 billion (US$6.39 billion), up 47.2 percent year-on-year and surpassing Acer's whole-year target of NT$202.09 billion.

Banana program to continue

The Council of Agriculture (COA) will continue its pilot program next year to allow unrestricted exports of bananas, particularly to Japan.

Since 1974, the Taiwan Provincial Fruit Marketing Cooperative (TPFMC) has been the sole exporter of bananas to Japan -- Tai-wan's largest fruit export market.

Since the number of Taiwan bananas exported to Japan in recent years has declined, the COA decided to allow other organizations to export bananas to areas outside of Japan on a trial basis this year.

The TPFMC will still handle the majority of the Japanese market, but others will come on board to try to expand Taiwan's banana-export footprint in Japan.

Profit-taking caps TAIEX gains

Share prices closed 0.2 percent higher yesterday after profit-taking capped gains on continuing expectations of a liquidity-driven rally in January, dealers said.

The TAIEX closed up 12.37 points at 6,100.86, on turnover of NT$66.89 billion (US$2.1 billion). Decliners led gainers 362 to 331, with 185 stocks unchanged.

Many investors also chose to stay on the sidelines ahead of the central bank's monetary policy announcement.

The central bank later yesterday announced that it was raising its benchmark interest rate for the second straight quarter.

The bank increased its discount rate by one-eighth of a percentage point to 1.75 percent.

NT dollar slightly lower

The New Taiwan dollar fell NT$0.002 to close at NT$31.978 against the US dollar yesterday on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$738 million, up from US$724 million on Wednesday.

The local currency has gained 0.7 percent this month as foreign investors were net buyers of Taiwan's stocks for 13 days, totaling NT$46.4 billion (US$1.45 billion).

The unit is strengthening because the economy "still remains one of the out-performers. As a result, we should see the central bank allow for more appreciation" in the currency, said Craig Chan, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland in Hong Kong.

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