Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITERS WITH AGENCIES

China Air ratings unchanged

Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), a local arm of rating agency Standard and Poor's, yesterday said it has no plan to change its ratings and outlook for China Airlines Ltd (華航) in the near term after one of the airline's jets burst into flames.

"No immediate impact on China Airlines' financial position is expected as the airline has full insurance coverage," Taiwan Rating said.

But, it will closely assess the negative impact brought by the aircraft fire at Naha, Japan, on China Airlines' operating and earnings performance over the next few months.

Chinatrust rating raised

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) had its rating raised to ``buy'' from ``sell'' at Citigroup Inc after recent declines in the share price of the nation's largest credit-card issuer.

"Our previous cautious view on the stock was due to premium valuations, but we think the stock is now back to attractive levels," Citigroup analyst Bradford Ti wrote in a report dated yesterday.

Citigroup kept its target price of NT$28 for the stock, suggesting a return of about 20 percent on shares in the nation's fourth-largest financial-services company by market value, according to the report.

Taiwan semicon billings up

China and Taiwan emerged as the only two countries which registered quarterly sequential growth in semiconductor equipment billings, data from an industry group said yesterday.

Worldwide bookings for the second quarter of this year fell 18 percent compared with the same period last year, the industry group SEMI reported.

Semicon equipment bookings totaled US$10.2 billion for the second quarter, down 4 percent from the first.

In contrast, equipment billings in China rose 87 percent to US$1.21 billion in the second quarter from the first.

Taiwan's increased from US$2.01 billion in the first quarter to US$3.16 billion in the second, the semicon equipment manufacturer trade association said.

Amid a trend of declining orders, SEMI said its latest figures for semiconductor equipment bookings for North America were down.

The three-month average of equipment bookings last month for North American semicon equipment manufacturers reached totals of US$1.44 billion, down 10 per cent from June's level of US$1.61 billion.

Current-account surplus grows

Taiwan's current-account surplus widened in the second quarter of last year as exports rose.

The surplus expanded to US$4.98 billion from US$4.51 billion a year earlier, the central bank said yesterday in a statement in Taipei.

The surplus fell from a revised US$8.65 billion in the first quarter. The bank didn't give a dollar value for the nation's exports.

The surplus on the income account, which includes dividend payments, widened to US$2.83 billion from US$2.14 billion a year earlier.

The deficit on the services account, which includes travel spending, swelled to US$1.78 billion from a revised US$1.37 billion.

The financial account, which measures investment flows, showed a deficit of US$7.17 billion, widening from a US$5.8 billion deficit in the same period a year earlier.

Direct investment showed a net outflow of US$284 million, less than the US$719 million a year earlier.

Portfolio investment had a net outflow of US$7.06 billion, more than the revised US$5.95 billion a year earlier.

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