Stocks close lower
Share prices closed 0.64 percent lower yesterday after Wall Street's losses overnight, with sentiment further undermined by concerns about political bickering after the legislature cut the government's 2006 proposed budget, dealers said.
The TAIEX fell 43.26 points to 6,682.35, on turnover of NT$97.24 billion (US$3.04 billion).
Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (台積電) closed down 1.5 percent to NT$64.50 and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) lost 1.4 percent to NT$18.25.
Oil firm's chairman `moving'>B
Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) chairman Kuo Ching-tsai (郭進財) will be appointed to chair the Kuokuang Petrochemical Corp (國光石化), according to Chinese-language newspaper reports yesterday, citing unnamed Cabinet officials.
Chinese Petroleum president Chen Pao-lang (陳寶郎) will serve as the acting chairman, the reports said.
Company officials declined to comment on the reports, which said Kuo was to tender his resignation to the board of directors yesterday morning.
Formosa Plasma to close
Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) plans to close its 93-percent owned plasma display business as falling prices have caused losses.
The board of Formosa Plasma Display Corp (台朔光電) decided to dismantle the firm, Formosa Plastics said in a statement yesterday.
Plasma displays have been under "gradual threat from LCDs," Formosa Plastics said in the statement. "It should be the right choice" to pull out of the plasma display industry, it said.
Taiwan to invest in robotics
The nation will invest over NT$84 million over the next three years to invigorate the country's robotics industry, introducing smart robots into the everyday life of the Taiwanese people, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported yesterday.
The paper quoted an anonymous official at the Ministry of Economic Affairs as saying that the government-led project is being funded by the Department of Industrial Technology, and a group of semi-governmental research institutes will serve as sub-project leaders responsible for developing smart robots that serve different purposes.
Meanwhile, Chan Ping-chih (詹炳熾), general manager of the Precision Machinery Research and Development Center (精密機械研發中心) told the newspaper that the center is slated to complete the development of a tour-guide robot prototype this year, which will be commercially available by the end of 2008.
Chip production rising fast
Taiwan is expected to have as many as 15 12-inch wafer plants by 2008, a development that will help the country yield 30 percent of the world's overall chip production by that time, according to the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
At present, 10 12-inch wafter plants in Taiwan have already begun mass production, with another one under construction, bureau officials said, adding that companies such as United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) and ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德) are seeking to build wafer plants at a rate of two plants every three years, allowing Taiwan to have 15 12-inch plants by 2008.
This will help Taiwan outstrip the US, Japan and South Korea in chip production, the officials said.
NT dollar falls
The New Taiwan dollar traded lower against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.115 to close at NT$31.995 on the Taipei foreign exchange market yesterday.
Turnover was US$836 million.