Tue, May 20, 2008 - Page 11 News List

High hopes for Ma term boost TAIEX 1.06 percent

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , TAIPEI

Taiwanese shares closed 1.06 percent higher yesterday on hopes for better cross-strait ties with China ahead of Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inauguration as president today, dealers said.

Ma is expected to announce in his inaugural speech that more Chinese tourists would be allowed to visit Taiwan, China-bound investment restrictions would be eased and direct transport links with China would be begun in earnest, they said.

The weighted index closed up 97.79 points at 9,295.20, off the day’s low of 9,207.27, on turnover of NT$150.18 billion (US$4.91 billion).

China Airlines (華航), the nation’s largest carrier, rose to a three-week high as a planned trip to China by the chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) boosted hopes for an agreement on direct flights.

The carrier gained 2.5 percent to close at NT$16.75 yesterday, the highest since April 24. Smaller rival EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) jumped 4 percent to NT$18.30.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) this month in Beijing. The meeting, the highest-level contact between the two former foes since the end of China’s civil war, may facilitate a resumption of cross-straits flights.

Taiwan may let carriers fly to China from four airports as early as July, the Economic Daily News said last Thursday, citing incoming minister of transportation and communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國).

Elsewhere, Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠), the world’s largest processor of plastics for pipes and imitation leather, expects reconstruction in the wake of China’s strongest earthquake in decades to boost consumption of its products.

Demand for construction material made from polyvinyl chloride should increase, company president Wu Chia-chau (吳嘉昭) said by telephone yesterday.

The earthquake in southwestern China has leveled more than 4.7 million houses in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. Nan Ya Plastics has more than 30 plants in China producing goods including pipes and synthetic leather. The company also makes floor panels and window frames.

“Sales volume is expected to increase,” Wu said, declining to comment on product prices.

Nan Ya Plastics started as a plastics-product maker more than four decades ago and has expanded to manufacturing petrochemicals, polyester and electronics components such as optical disks and materials used to make printed circuit boards.

The company’s sales gained 21 percent from a year earlier to NT$20.1 billion last month, Nan Ya Plastics said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on May 7.

Meanwhile, shares of Taiwanese pulp makers climbed to seven-month highs in Taipei trading after a local news report said that they might raise prices next month.

Chung Hwa Pulp Corp (中華紙漿), the nation’s second-largest pulp maker, led gains by advancing 5.9 percent to close at NT$25.85 yesterday, the highest since Oct. 16 last year.

Taiwan Pulp & Paper Corp (台灣紙業), the sixth-largest, climbed to a five-year record of NT$18.70, up 6.6 percent, compared with a 1.1 percent gain on the benchmark TAIEX index.

Taiwanese paper pulp makers may increase prices by 5 percent next month in line with international pricing, with Chung Hwa Pulp and Taiwan Pulp & Paper to benefit the most, the Economic Daily News reported yesterday, citing unidentified industry sources.

The seven-member TAIEX Pulp & Paper index gained 3.3 percent to 217.55 points, the highest level since July 25 last year.

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