■ Share market lower
Shares fell yesterday, led by chipmakers, on sentiment that the benchmark index had peaked after reaching a 20-month high in the previous session. The TAIEX lost 54.69 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,417.20, after rising to 6,471.89 on Wednesday, its highest settlement level since April 28, last year. "Selling pressure in a few recent big gainers, including chip packaging and testing heavyweights, intensified after the index breached the psychological 6,500 level at the opening," said Stanley Chou, an analyst at Barits Investment Service. Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光), the world's largest chip packaging and testing company by revenue, fell 1.3 percent to NT$27.65. Smaller rival Siliconware Precision Industry Co (矽品) dropped 1.9 percent to NT$41. ASE has risen more than 14 percent so far this month and Siliconware is up more than 15 percent.
■ Chi Mei seeks NT$40bn loan
Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), the nation's second-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, hired 16 banks to arrange a NT$40 billion (US$1.2 billion) seven-year loan for a factory that makes bigger screens, a banker involved in the credit said. Chi Mei will use the loan to help pay for a NT$105 billion plant in Tainan. By the end of 2007, the factory will have a monthly production capacity of 30,000 sheets, which will be cut into 107cm television screens, the banker said. Chi Mei may increase the loan to NT$70 billion, according to the banker. The 16 banks, including Bank of Taiwan, BNP Paribas SA, Calyon and HSBC Holdings Plc, are inviting other lenders to join the loan by Jan. 16, the banker said. Chi Mei plans to sign the loan by Jan. 27.
■ Visitors up 14.7 percent
Foreign arrivals to Taiwan in the first 11 months of this year totaled more than 3.067 million, up 14.7 percent compared to a year-earlier, according to tallies released yesterday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS). Japanese visitors contributed the largest share of 33.5 percent of the total arrivals, or 1.028 million visits, during the 11-month period, a 28.5 percent growth year on year, DGBAS statistics showed. Visitors from Hong Kong, Macau and those from the US made up of a combined 60 percent of the total. Some 1.23 million visitors to Taiwan in the first 11 months came for sightseeing, marking a 34.7 percent increase, while some 877,000 came for business.
■ Tungshih exporting to Brunei
Taiwan fruit exporters have begun to make inroads into Brunei's market, with the first batch of Tungshih Township (東勢) mandarin oranges ordered by fruit importers in the Southeast Asian country being shipped yesterday. Brunei fruit importers have ordered more than 200 metric tonnes of mandarin oranges from the county. Tungshih fruit farmers have been hit hard by the entry into Taiwan of large amounts of foreign fruit in the last few years, said Liu Hsing-chuan (劉興權), chairman of Tungshih Farmers' Association in Taichung County. Taichung County Government and Tungshih Farmers' Association officials began seeking export orders to introduce the township's fruits abroad in 2003, targeting Asian markets, including Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
■ NT dollar declines
The NT dollar declined against its US counterpart on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, down NT$0.005 to close at NT$33.261.