Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - Page 11 News List

[ BUSINESS BRIEFS ]

Staff writer, with Agencies

TAIEX tumbles 0.35 percent

The TAIEX fell 0.35 percent yesterday, with the benchmark index closing below its half-year moving average of 7,501.

The index ranged between a high of 7,520.86 and a low of 7,431.99, before closing down 26.06 points at 7,481.09 on turnover of NT$72.39 billion (US$2.45 billion).

A total of 1,167 stocks closed up and 2,947 finished down, while 307 remained unchanged.

Most of the market’s eight major stock categories closed down, but financial shares bucked the broader market to finish 0.3 percent higher.

Property sales hit 10-year low

Property sales fell almost 40 percent in the first quarter of the year to a 10-year low, mainly due to the new “luxury tax” aimed at reining in speculators, the Ministry of the Interior said on Saturday.

About 64,000 properties were sold or purchased in the first three months, the lowest level since 2002, and down 38.9 percent from the same period last year.

House sales have been in decline nationwide, particularly in Taipei, since the luxury tax was imposed in June last year, the ministry said in a statement.

The luxury tax was introduced in an attempt to stem the increasing wealth gap between rich and poor, imposing a levy of up to 15 percent on anyone who sells properties and vacant land within two years of its purchase.

Q1 investment only 18% of goal

Private investment totaled NT$198.4 billion (US$6.73 billion) in the first quarter of the year, or 18.03 percent of the targeted annual goal of NT$1.1 trillion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement on Friday.

However, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s largest contract chip maker, breaking ground on a new 12-inch fab on April 9, the amount of private investment would increase substantially this month, the ministry said.

Economics officials were optimistic that private investment in the first four months could reach up to 30 percent of the goal once the new fab is added to the total.

In terms of investment by sector, investment in the metal, and machinery and electrical sectors had reached 24 percent of this year’s goal, while investment in the electronics sector had only reached 7 percent of the goal.

Taiwanese businesspeople operating abroad who returned home to invest injected NT$14.5 billion into the country in the first quarter, or 29 percent of the annual goal.

First quarter foreign investment totaled US$2.42 billion, or about 24.3 percent of the target for this year, the ministry said.

NT dollar dips against US dollar

The New Taiwan dollar fell against the US dollar yesterday, declining NT$0.003 to close at NT$29.524.

The NT dollar once touched a two-week high of NT$29.395 during the session, as speculation the central bank would favor appreciation to combat inflation encouraged exporters to repatriate income.

“With the lack of foreign investors coming into Taiwan, gains today are mainly being driven by exporters selling the greenback,” said Tarsicio Tong (湯健揚), a currency trader at Union Bank of Taiwan (聯邦銀行) in Taipei.

“The currency has been hovering around NT$29.50 for months. It’d be interesting to see if the central bank will tolerate more appreciation to fight inflation,” Tong said

Turnover totaled US$549 million during the trading session.

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