Reserves up on currency gains
The nation’s foreign-exchange reserves totaled US$393.33 billion last month, up US$4.15 billion from the previous month, because of gains on the euro and other major reserve currencies, as well as returns on reserves management strategy, the central bank said in a statement yesterday.
The euro and other major currencies continued to appreciate against the US dollar — the base currency — last month, making foreign-exchange reserves denominated in those currencies worth more, the central bank said.
The market value of securities and deposits held by foreign portfolio investors as at the end of last month was US$201.2 billion, equivalent to 51 percent of the nation’s foreign-exchange reserves, the bank said.
Taiwan remained the world’s fourth-largest holder of foreign-exchange reserves, behind China, Japan and Russia.
Chinese bond rules relaxed
The Financial Supervisory Commission said it would further relax investment restrictions and allow local banks to buy government and corporate bonds in China.
Commission official Chiu Shu-chen (邱淑貞) said late on Thursday that the move would help improve local banks’ earnings. He said some Chinese bonds have an interest rate of about 3 percent. Taiwanese bond interest rates hover just below 2 percent.
Under the Economic Co--operation Framework Agreement (ECFA), several local banks have set up subsidiaries in China, but they are barred from engaging in yuan-denominated deals in their first two years of operation.
However, officials said their overseas branches that are not regulated by China would soon be able to buy Chinese bonds.
Yang Ming eyes bigger vessels
Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運), the nation’s No. 2 -container shipper, said on Thursday it plans to submit a proposal to the company’s board next week to order five ships capable of carrying up to 16,000 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers.
Yang Ming chairman Frank Lu (盧峰海) said on the sidelines of a legislative session that if his proposal is passed, the firm would get vessels twice the capacity of its current 8,000-TEU vessels. He said the world’s biggest container vessel is 18,000-TEU and building larger vessels is a trend among shippers.
Yang Ming has ordered 12,000-TEU vessels from Taiwan-based China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC, 台灣國際造船) and it is scheduled to receive the ships next year.
Meanwhile, Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), the nation’s largest and the world’s fourth-largest shipper, owns 7,000-TEU vessels and it has commissioned CSBC to build it 8,000-TEU vessels, which are scheduled to be delivered in 2013.
Concept ‘green’ cars unveiled
Feng Chia University in Taichung on Thursday unveiled the first hydrogen fuel station in the nation that supplies biologically produced hydrogen.
Two mini hydrogen concept cars were also introduced at the launch ceremony and there was a demonstration of how to change the biohydrogen batteries in the vehicles. The technology was developed in a joint collaboration between the university, the National Science Council and the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy which began in 1998.
Researchers succeeded in using microbiological technology to produce hydrogen fuel from agricultural waste. The cars, each fueled by six containers of hydrogen, produce no air pollutants, only water, the university’s vice president, Lee Bing-jean (李秉乾), said.