Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Stocks rebound sharply

Share prices closed sharply higher, adding 2.95 percent yesterday as investors took their lead from a strong overnight performance on Wall Street, dealers said.

They said, however, that the gains looked to be mostly technical after recent losses, with broader concerns over the local political situation and US economic prospects remaining in place.

The TAIEX rose 185.56 points at 6,485.15, on turnover of NT$77.51 billion (US$2.38 billion).

Dealers said investors were unlikely to become too aggressive about pursuing a sustainable recovery until they were given further reassurances about US monetary policy after an expected rate hike at the end of the month.

■ Uni-President said to buy stake

Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), the nation's largest food conglomerate, was reported to be acquiring a 35 percent stake in Beijing Sanyuan Group Corp (北京三元集團), the fourth-largest dairy producer in China, for NT$3 billion. According to a report by Chinese daily the Beijing News last week, Beijing Sanyuan and Uni-President are in talks for a deal, through which Uni-President could become a listed company as Beijing Sanyuan is an A-share company trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Uni-President said the two parties were discussing various models of cooperation and had not reached any conclusion, according to a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange last week.

■ Rice-trading center opens

The nation's first rice-trading center began operations yesterday at the Agriculture and Food Agency's southern regional office in Tainan.

Trading at the new facility will emphasize the quality and safety of rice, instead of the weight -- the traditional way of trading rice in Taiwan, agency Director-General Huang Yu-tsai (黃有才) said in his address at the center's inauguration ceremony.

Weight has been key, and sometimes the only reference, for traders buying crops from growers, Huang said, adding that the government guarantees a price of NT$21 per kilogram of rice as part of efforts to stabilize the market.

The center will provide more information, including the type of rice strain, name of the grower and safety guarantees, for traders' reference.

■ Jobless rate up in May

The nation's jobless rate rose 0.06 percentage points month-on-month to 3.84 percent last month, but declined 0.26 percentage points from a year earlier, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported yesterday.

The number of people unemployed rose to 402,000 last month from 395,000 in April, the DGBAS said in a statement.

Last month's figure of 3.84 percent was the lowest for the same month over the last six years, as the number of first-time job seekers increased, the statistics bureau added.

Seasonally adjusted, the unemployment ratio last month dropped 0.01 percentage points to 3.92 percent from April and declined 0.27 percentage points from a year earlier, the data showed.

Comparing regionally, Taiwan's unemployment rate last month was lower than Hong Kong's 4.9 percent and Japan's 4.1 percent, but higher than South Korea's 3.4 percent and Singapore's 2.6 percent.

For the first five months of this year, the jobless rate averaged 3.84 percent, down 0.29 percentage points from the same period last year, DGBAS said.

■ NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar traded lower against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.013 to close at NT$32.638 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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