Shares close 5.3% lower
Shares closed 5.3 percent lower yesterday after the government announced record falls in exports and imports amid the global economic slump, dealers said.
The weighted index fell 254.05 points to 4,535.79 on turnover of NT$76.29 billion (US$2.31 billion).
Bank of England cuts key rate
The Bank of England said yesterday it had cut its key lending rate by half a percentage point to an all-time low of 1.5 percent, as Britain grapples with a deepening economic slowdown.
The rate was cut from 2 percent to the lowest level since the formation of the bank in 1694, 315 years ago.
China Steel to reduce output
China Steel Corp (中鋼), the nation’s biggest maker of the metal, will cut output by 30 percent in the second quarter as it brings forward maintenance of a furnace in anticipation that demand may improve in the second half of the year.
The company would halt its No. 3 blast furnace for 60 days starting in May rather than August or September, China Steel spokesman Chung Le-min (鍾樂民) said by telephone.
China Steel has four blast furnaces, with a total annual capacity of 10 million tonnes, including the No. 3 plant’s 2.8 million tonnes.
Association handles disputes
The Bankers Association of the Republic of China (銀行公會) has received more than 8,800 applications for help resolving disputes from investors in structured notes linked to Lehman Brothers, the Financial Supervisory Commission said yesterday.
Among them, more than 150 applicants had reached a resolution with their banks, the commission said.
A total of 1,386 applications have been processed, pending a final ruling by the association’s committee, which the commission said should come before the Lunar New Year.
UMC expects impairment
United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) expects to incur NT$6.89 billion in non-cash asset and goodwill impairment, the chipmaker said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.
UMC said tumbling local stock market and contracting chip demand has caused NT$2.82 billion in depreciation losses from its holdings of local chipmaker Epistar Corp (晶元光電) and Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控).
UMC said it would also book NT$3.75 million and NT$320 million for goodwill impairment and idled asset impairment. The asset impairment would not cut into its operating cash flow, it said.
The chipmaker posted NT$4.61 billion in revenue for last month, a seven-year low and a 46 percent drop from a year ago.
UMC accumulated NT$92.53 billion in revenue last year, down 13.34 percent from 2007.
Hotai to hike Lexus prices
Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes Toyota and Lexus models in Taiwan, yesterday said it would hike prices of all Lexus models imported from Japan by between 1 percent and 2 percent, effective immediately, to reflect rising costs resulting from a surging Japanese yen.
The leading automotive distributor, with a 34.6 percent market share in Taiwan last year, said the Japanese yen surged 22 percent against the New Taiwan dollar last year, which increased its import costs.
NT dollar loses ground
The NT dollar lost ground against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, declining NT$0.135 to close at NT$33.115. Turnover was US$1.337 billion.