Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 11 News List

BUSINESS BRIEFS

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Unemployment rate falls

The unemployment rate fell to 3.99 percent last month from 4.09 percent in August largely on a decline in first-time job seekers, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Last month's figure, however, was up from 3.96 percent in the same month a year earlier, the DGBAS said.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, last month's unemployment rate came in at 3.89 percent, up from 3.87 percent in the previous month and up from 3.85 percent a year earlier, it said.

Last month, 429,000 people were jobless, down 13,000 from August.

Unemployment for the first nine months of the year averaged 3.92 percent, holding steady year-on-year and marking a seven-year low for the period on a comparative basis, the agency said.

Far Eastern shares gain

Far Eastern Department Stores Ltd (遠東百貨), the nation's biggest publicly traded department store, headed for its highest close in more than 15 years after Citigroup Inc raised its target price.

Andre Chang(張致竑), an analyst at Citigroup Investment Research in Taipei, raised his 12-month share-price estimate on Far Eastern Department Stores' stock to NT$50 (US$1.53) from NT$42, citing sales growth in China.

Taipei-based Far Eastern last week announced a plan to invest US$79.5 million for a 40 percent stake in Pacific China Holdings Ltd which operates a chain of nine department stores in China.

PetroChina readies IPO

PetroChina (中國石油天然), China's biggest oil and gas producer, began consultations yesterday on pricing for an initial public offering in Shanghai expected to raise more than US$9 billion, possibly setting another record for a Chinese bourse.

The company said late on Sunday that its up to 4 billion Shanghai shares are due to begin trading Nov. 5. The announcement came after the China Securities Regulatory Commission approved its IPO plan over the weekend.

PetroChina has shares traded in Hong Kong and American Depository Receipts listed in New York.

The yuan-denominated shares are generally off-limits to foreign investors.

Transport unions mull strike

Unions for two major freight transportation companies may go on strike on Monday over wage disputes with their management, which could disrupt service to companies in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), the Central News Agency reported on Sunday.

But the Hsinchu Science Park Administration said yesterday it had drafted contingent plans.

It said such a strike would have a limited impact on park firms' operation, adding that it would arrange other freight trucking companies to offer necessary services.

The administration called on the Hsinchu City Government's labor bureau to help negotiate with the unions and the management of the two freight transport companies to solve the wage disputes.

Europe extends Google review

The European Commission said yesterday that it has extended its antitrust review of Google Inc's proposed takeover of Internet advertising company DoubleClick until Nov. 13 to consider remedies proposed by Google.

It would not specify what remedies were offered, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

But these usually include divestments to allay negative effects on competition.

The US$3.1 billion acquisition has come under criticism from competitors and clients who fear the combined entity would be in a uniquely dominant position in the online advertising markets.

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