Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

TAIEX closes at six-year low

Share prices closed down 4.53 percent yesterday to a six-year low, tracking Wall Street’s overnight plunge and weaker regional markets, dealers said.

The weighted index fell 194.16 points to 4,089.93, its lowest level since October 2002. Turnover was NT$44.97 billion (US$1.35 billion). A total of 261 stocks closed limit-down and 35 were limit-up.

Plastics/petrochemical fell 5.91 percent and financials lost 5.82 percent. Electronics were down 4.60 percent, construction down 3.37 percent and textiles down 3.22 percent.

“Taipei shares reflected the downward trend in the global markets as demand and export growth weakened,” said Allen Lin, an analyst at Concord Securities (康和證券).

Lin expected the market to extend further losses to test 3,800 points next week due to a lack of positive leads.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s largest contract chip maker, shed 3.16 percent to NT$36.80. United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) was limit-down 7 percent at 7.08.

Corning to halt expansion

Corning Inc, the world’s largest maker of glass for liquid-crystal displays, said it will halt plans to expand in Taiwan and will cut production on the island because of declining demand.

“We’ve put it on hold,” Jim Terry, a spokesman for the company, said in a phone interview from Corning, New York, yesterday.

Corning said in early February that it would spend US$453 million to increase its glass-making capacity in Taichung. Terry yesterday declined to comment on the scale of the production cuts.

The slowdown comes as Corning’s Taiwan customers including AU Optronics Corp (友達) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美光電) reduced output amid slowing demand for flat-screen televisions and computer monitors.

Terry denied local media reports that Corning is planning to decrease staff in Taiwan. About 200 contract workers in Japan, Taiwan, China and the US will be cut, while the company will reduce staff in Kentucky by 85 employees on Dec. 8, he said.

Investment in China subsiding

Taiwanese investment in China has subsided even after restrictions on business between the two sides were eased, the Central News Agency reported on its Web site, citing a Mainland Affairs Council official.

Government-approved Taiwanese investment in China fell 34.2 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the agency cited council Vice Chairman Fu Dong-cheng (傅棟成) as saying.

Easing of restrictions on China-bound investment has not hurt Taiwan economy, yet the “China investment fever” has subsided, Fu was quoted as saying.

Taiwan and China signed an accord earlier this month allowing regular direct flights and shipping for the first time in almost 60 years

China Steel to offer bonds

China Steel Corp (中鋼), Taiwan’s largest steelmaker, plans to sell as much as NT$20 billion of bonds to increase working capital

The debt will pay annual interest of no more than 3.5 percent, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

China Steel is selling bonds as interest rates fall after the central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time in two months early this month.

Lawmakers exclude Cape Verde

The Executive Yuan yesterday approved a proposal by the Ministry of Finance to exclude the Republic of Cape Verde from its list of under-developed countries that enjoy customs-free treatment.

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