Fri, Feb 01, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

TAIEX closes lower

Taiwan share prices closed 0.30 percent lower yesterday amid doubts over whether the US economy will be able to avert a recession despite another 50 basis point interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve overnight, dealers said.

The TAIEX closed down 22.37 points at 7,521.13 off a low of 7,400.74 and a high of 7,579.43. Turnover was NT$124.22 billion (US$3.86 billion).

Decliners outnumbered advancers 1,306 to 617, with 401 stocks unchanged.

On the foreign exchange market, the New Taiwan dollar ended at 32.198 to the US dollar, up NT$0.05 from the previous close.

Storms' impact small: Formosa

Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) said the snow storm in central and southern China had little impact on its operations there.

"Our factories are in Ningpo, Zhejiang Province, but our operations had little impact from the storm," a company official said.

The official, who declined to be named, said that business remains "normal."

Formosa Plastics produces polyvinyl chloride, acrylic esters and polypropylene, which are key components used in consumer goods, textiles and plastic products, respectively.

Chinatrust approves new head

The board of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) yesterday approved the promotion of James Chen (陳佳文) as president, replacing James Sheu (許建基). Chen is currently president of the company's institutional group.

The board also appointed Daniel Wu (吳一揆) as its chief investment officer while Oliver Shang (尚瑞強) was promoted to president of subsidiary Chinatrust Commercial Bank's (中信銀) personal banking, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

NPL drop helps banks

The local banking sector's asset quality inched up with its non-performing loan (NPL) ratio dropping 0.29 percentage points month-on-month to 1.84 percent last month, Financial Supervisory Commission statistics showed.

The nation's 39 domestic banks had a total of NT$328.1 billion (US$10 billion) in bad loans by the end of December -- a fall of NT$49.5 billion from November, the commission's data showed.

Twenty-nine of the 39 banks maintained an NPL ratio of less than 2.5 percent and the ratio for another six banks ranged between 2.5 percent and 5 percent. Chinfon Bank (慶豐銀行) remains to be the worst-performing bank among the remaining four.

Titanium credit card launched

E.Sun Bank (玉山銀行) yesterday teamed up with MasterCard Worldwide and launched the nation's first titanium credit card, targeting women cardholders with an interest in fashion, shopping benefits and cash rebates.

"The spending power of female cardholders is on the rise with a lower default risk than male cardholders," said Ben Chen (陳炳良), senior executive vice president of E.Sun's credit card division.

As an upgrade from platinum cards, the newly launched titanium card may be able to attract a potential market of 6 million people, half of the nation's 12 million platinum cardholders, MasterCard's senior vice president Tina Chiang (江威娜) said.

Bank lowers forecasts

Standard Chartered Bank lowered its forecasts for the South Korean won, the New Taiwan dollar and the Philippine peso for the second and third quarters on speculation a US recession will steer investors away from emerging markets.

Standard Chartered "strongly disagrees" with the decoupling theory that Asian markets will be insulated from a US slowdown.

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