Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Taiwan shares close higher

Taiwan share prices closed slightly higher yesterday, with bargain-hunting in select technology and old-economy industrials helping the key index to finish in positive territory, dealers said.

Government-linked funds also lent some support to the market to recover from early losses driven by another slide on Wall Street overnight, they added.

The TAIEX closed up 15.26 points or 0.18 percent at 8,499.37. Turnover was NT$119.95 billion (US$3.7 billion).

Decliners outnumbered risers 1,426 to 624, while 368 stocks were unchanged.

"Some people had begun hunting for bargains, but the upside could be hardly sustained due to still prevalent caution," said an analyst with a securities investment advisory firm.

Worries over further volatility on Wall Street continue to nag investors, with the Thanksgiving holiday merely providing a respite, said the analyst, who did not wish to be named.

Asustek to double mobiles

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world's largest maker of boards that connect computer parts, will more than double shipments of mobile phones in Asia and the Middle East next year as it releases more advanced models.

The company will ship 250,000 handsets in Asia and the Middle East, its largest market, in 2008, from an estimated 100,000 this year, Benson Lin (林宗樑), general manager for Asia Pacific, said at a briefing today.

Asustek is in talks to sell the phone, which allows users to access the Internet, through Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's largest phone operator, Lin said, without providing details.

CPC to fix refinery

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) plans to shut a crude distillation unit at its Taoyuan refinery around Dec. 10 for maintenance, a company official said.

The repairs will last about a month, said the CPC official, asking not to be identified because of company rules. The refinery in northern Taiwan has two crude distillation units each able to process 100,000 barrels a day.

The shutdown may lower CPC's processing capacity to 520,000 barrels a day, as a 100,000 barrel-a-day crude unit remains shut at the Kaohsiung refinery in after being damaged by a fire in October. CPC's three refineries -- Kaohsiung and Talin in Kaohsiung City and Taoyuan -- have combined capacity of 720,000 barrels a day.

Gas price-freeze request likely

Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said yesterday that the ministry is likely to ask CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油) to freeze the gasoline and diesel oil price hike for next month, with the price increase having already exceeded the ceiling of 12 percent set by the government. Chen made the remark during the interpellation session at the legislature's economic committee yesterday.

The government earlier this month lowered the ceiling of cumulative oil price increases under the floating pricing mechanism to 12 percent from 15 percent previously, in the wake of increased public complaints of rising consumer prices triggered by higher oil prices.

CPC is expected to announce on Dec. 1 whether it will raise gasoline and diesel oil prices for next month under the floating pricing mechanism. The company is under increased cost pressure after global crude futures saw prices break US$99 per barrel on Wednesday.

NT dollar climbs

The New Taiwan dollar gained ground against the US dollar on the Taipei Forex Inc yesterday, rising NT$0.008 to close at NT$32.340.

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