Thu, Aug 23, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

TAIEX closes mixed

Shares closed flat yesterday after an erratic session, with some stocks gaining on bargain-hunting against an overall cautious mood after Wall Street's mixed performance overnight, dealers said.

Although investors were uncertain about the impact of Beijing's latest interest rate hike, the "China-concept firms," or those that have operations in China, were mostly higher due to firmer Chinese bourses and solid earnings prospects, they said.

The TAIEX closed up 14.38 points or 0.17 percent at 8,493.46, on turnover of NT$110.20 billion (US$3.34 billion).

On the foreign exchange market, the NT dollar fell NT$0.018 to close at NT$32.939 against its US counterpart due to continued foreign capital outflows.

Turnover was US$1.035 billion on the Taipei Forex Inc.

Jobless rate increases

The jobless rate rose to 4.03 percent last month from 3.96 percent last month due to a sharp increase in first-time job seekers, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The figure was 0.02 percent lower than the same month a year ago and was the lowest July figure in the last seven years, DGBAS said.

For the first seven months of the year, the average unemployment rate was 3.88 percent, down 0.01 percent from a year earlier and also the lowest average for the period since 2001, the agency said.

Seasonally adjusted, the jobless rate fell to a nine-month low of 3.87 percent last month, dropping from 3.90 percent in June.

Taiwan retains low risk ranking

Taiwan retained its sixth position as the world's lowest risk country for doing business, according to the latest report by Business Environment Risk Intelligence.

The nation scored 72 points in profit opportunity -- an indicator of a nation's business environment, which includes a political risk index, an operations risk index and a remittance and repatriation factor.

The nation's ranking and total score were unchanged for a third consecutive evaluation.

The top five countries that offered the lowest risks for doing business are Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Japan and Norway -- also unchanged from the last report released in April.

The nation's political risk index remained at 59 points, reflecting the uncertainties brought by the approaching legislative and presidential election, the report said.

Taiwan's operations risk index stayed at 72 points, the report said, adding that the risk would improve from this year through next year after the legislature passed the NT$800 billion major public construction project and because of robust demand in exports.

Taiwan's remittance and repatriation factor remained at 85 as a result of a rising trade surplus, the report said.

Formosa Plastic mulls plant

Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) said yesterday it is considering setting up an integrated stainless steel plant in China in a project reported to cost NT$32 billion (US$972.6 million).

The project is awaiting final approval by the government, the company said in a statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The company was responding to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report that top executives of the Formosa Plastics group were planning to build a new plant in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province.

Construction is due to start by the end of the year, and the plant is expected to launch volume production in three years at the earliest, the report said.

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