Bad times won’t last long: Liu
Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) yesterday forecast that the current economic winter “will not last very long” and is likely to bottom out at the end of the first quarter.
If everything goes as expected, the economy will gradually recover after the first quarter, Liu said during an interview with UFO Radio.
Liu said the eurozone debt crisis remains the most crucial issue to be resolved in the coming three months, a peak period of debt repayments for many European nations.
Although a broader eurozone crisis has been averted over the past six months with the support of the IMF and the European Central Bank, there are no easy answers to the fundamental issues, she said.
Good time to invest: TWSE
Despite the recent slump on the TAIEX, Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp (TWSE, 台灣證交所) chairman Schive Chi (薛琦) said yesterday that investors should look at the main bourse in a positive way.
“Now is a good time for long-term investment in the local bourse because of the healthy fundamentals of listed companies and their low price-to-earnings ratios,” Schive said at a media briefing. “Listed companies’ debt-to-asset ratio stood at 36 percent at the end of 2011.”
Schive said he is also expecting an increase in the number of initial public offerings this year.
“There were 46 new listings in 2011. We are targeting 50 new listings this year, including Japanese companies,” he said.
No price rises, Starbucks says
President Starbucks Coffee Corp (統一星巴克), a joint venture of Taiwan’s Uni-President Group (統一集團) and US coffee chain Starbucks Corp, said yesterday that it has no plans to raise prices for any of its beverages.
The remark came after Starbucks announced on Tuesday that it is raising its prices by an average of about 1 percent in some regions of the US, including cities such as Boston, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas and Albuquerque, to offset rising ingredient costs.
After increasing its prices for coffee with milk by NT$10 per cup and by NT$5 for black coffee in October — a move that sparked outrage — the company has no plans to further adjust its prices, President Starbucks said.
Ministry to woo Japanese firms
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has set a goal to initiate 500 partnership projects between Taiwanese and Japanese enterprises within the next five years.
That would help double Japanese investment in the nation to NT$30 billion (US$991 million) and increase Taiwanese exports by an additional NT$50 billion over five years, according to a statement released yesterday.
The government would introduce a slew of measures to encourage Japanese investment, including the establishment of a venture capital fund, special financing packages and a bilateral industrial cooperation promotion office in Taipei, the ministry said.
A new Taiwan-Japan Park is also set to start operating in Tainan this month, it said.
The planned zone is designed for Japanese firms seeking to set up offshore backup production sites, for such industries as biotechnology, digital content, green energy, information technology and precision instruments.
NT dollar gains more ground
The New Taiwan dollar continued gaining ground against the greenback yesterday, adding NT$0.004 to close at NT$30.290.
Turnover totaled US$531 million during the trading session.