■ TAIEX, Chinatrust down
Shares closed 0.81 percent lower yesterday, extending previous losses over Wall Street's overnight fall, although the benchmark remained above 7,000 points, dealers said.
Local sentiment was further undermined by concerns over the probe into alleged irregularities in Chinatrust Financial Holding Co's (中信金控) previous bid for Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控).
The TAIEX closed down 57.53 points at 7,017.60, on turnover of NT$74.39 billion (US$2.24 billion).
Decliners led risers 857 to 266, with 144 stocks unchanged.
Chinatrust Financial was down NT$0.85 at NT$25.15 while Mega Financial was up NT$0.10 at NT$23.45.
After the arrest of the company's former chief financial officer Perry Chang (張明田) for alleged breach of trust, fears over possible prosecution of other senior officials drove more investors to sell of their holdings, dealers said.
■ Money for hot spring areas
The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said yesterday it will pump NT$540 million (US$16.46 million) into nine major hot spring areas nationwide in an attempt to attract more tourists.
CEPD said the money will be used to beautify hot spring areas and plan water supply systems so that the number of visitors to hot springs can reach the goal of 25 million by 2008.
Council officials noted that tourists made 9.39 million visits to hot spring areas in 2001 and that the number had increased to 21.51 million visits, up 129 percent, by 2004.
But they lamented the problems of lack of management and overdevelopment.
They cited the example of Taitung County, saying that there used to be hot springs 100m below the ground, but nowadays the bore has to be between 150m and 200m. Adjacent river pollution caused by waste water, as well as disorderly streets, are also problems that need to be addressed, they said.
■ Cross-strait fund inflows soar
Net fund inflows to Taiwan by its companies operating in China soared to more than US$10 billion in the first seven months of this year from some US$1 billion several years ago, Lin Chung-cheng (林忠正), a policy-making member of the Financial Supervisory Commission, said yesterday.
Lin said that China-bound Taiwanese companies -- which have invested US$100 billion or more in China since the late 1980s -- wired US$50 billion back to Taiwan between January and July.
Those companies wired more than US$30 billion out of the country during the period, Lin said.
The net inflow highlights a great need for financial services across the Taiwan Strait, the report said.
■ Counterfeit towels seized
The Taichung Customs Office announced yesterday that its agents had seized more than 10,000 imported towels carrying a counterfeit Snoopy trademark while searching two containers in Taichung Habor two days ago.
A spokesman for the office said a mobile unit had discovered the pirated goods -- with an estimated market value of approximately NT$700,000 -- while searching two 40ft containers from the container ship Wan Hai 207, which had just arrived from Vietnam.
■ NT weakens against greenback
Despite a firmer Japanese yen, the New Taiwan dollar weakened against its US counterpart yesterday, due to strong demand for greenback by both importers and refiners.
The NT dollar fell NT$0.022 to close at NT$33.180 on the Taipei foreign exchange market, on turnover of US$799 million.