South Korea’s central bank raised its forecast for the country’s economic growth this year to 5.9 percent on solid exports as well as capital and consumer spending amid a stronger global recovery. \nThe Bank of Korea, which had previously expected an expansion of 5.2 percent this year, made the revision yesterday in a report on the economic outlook for the second half of this year. \n“Goods exports and facilities investment are forecast to maintain strong growth owing to stronger recovery of the global economy, favorable IT industry and demand for changes in production facilities,” the bank said. \nConsumer spending will get a boost from higher household purchasing power, it added. \nThe brighter assessment comes after the South Korean government last month raised its forecast to 5.8 percent from 5 percent. \nMore recently, the IMF last week said the economy would expand 5.75 percent this year, compared with its previous forecast of 4.5 percent. \nSouth Korea’s economy, Asia’s fourth-largest, has recovered strongly after contracting during the global financial meltdown, boosted by exports, government stimulus and record low interest rates. It managed growth of just 0.2 percent last year. \nThe robust recovery and inflation worries pushed the Bank of Korea to raise its benchmark borrowing cost to 2.25 percent on Friday from 2 percent, the record low where it had been since February last year. The hike came earlier than expected. \nIn its report yesterday, the central bank also raised its growth forecast for the second quarter to 1.2 percent from the previous 0.8 percent and said the economy likely grew 7.4 percent in the first half of this year. \nThe bank is set to announce preliminary GDP figures for the three months ended on June 30 around the end of this month. \nIt also said that growth is expected to slow marginally to 0.7 percent in the third quarter before accelerating to 0.9 percent in the fourth. For next year, the bank is predicting growth to slow to 4.5 percent. \nSouth Korea’s current account surplus is expected to approximately halve to US$21 billion this year from last year’s record high of US$42.7 billion, the bank said, citing a wider services deficit and an increase in imports in line with stronger domestic demand.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be