38% less workers on furlough
The number of workers in Taiwan on unpaid leave has dropped 38 percent over the past two weeks, the Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday.
As of Thursday, 20 companies had reached agreements with their employees on unpaid leave, with 1,365 workers currently on furlough, the latest statistics from the council showed.
The figure represented a 38 percent decrease from May 15, when 2,207 workers from 24 companies had agreed to take unpaid leave.
The labor council said that as of Thursday, 1,558 workers from 19 companies had signed up for a program to retrain furloughed workers. These workers receive NT$100 (US$3.39) for each hour spent in the training program.
The program provides training subsidies for employees whose work hours have fallen by 16 hours or more in two weeks.
Minister to attend meetings
Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) was leaving for Russia yesterday to attend Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial-level meetings focusing on regional economic integration, and trade and investment liberalization.
Shih is set to take part in the trade ministers’ meetings in Kazan on Monday and Tuesday, which will cover issues such as reducing trade barriers and increasing food supplies to meet the needs of businesses and consumers, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Shih is expected to back the efforts of the US and Japan to expand the Information Technology Agreement, which removes tariffs from a number of high-tech products.
Shih and his delegation, comprising officials from the Council of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Health, are also scheduled to hold discussions with APEC members on bilateral trade issues.
TransAsia adds new China route
TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空), a Taiwan-based mid-sized international carrier, launched flights to Sanya in China’s Hainan Province on Thursday.
TransAsia now offers two services a week between Taoyuan and Sanya, one on Mondays and the other on Thursdays. The carrier said it has also launched an eight-day group tour package that combines Sanya and Macau.
TransAsia provides services to 13 Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Xiamen, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou, to provide customers with access to tourist sites in northern, central, eastern, southern and western China.
The carrier said the routes to these Chinese cities account for about 30 percent of its revenue — NT$9.06 billion (US$303 million) last year — and the average load capacity of its flights to China exceeds 80 percent.
TSMC shares take beating
Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, took a beating yesterday as investors rushed to lock in the profits from the stock in the previous session, dealers said.
TSMC also fell after Goldman Sachs cut its recommendation on the stock to “neutral” from “buy,” and reduced its share-price estimate by 16 percent to NT$80, citing weak demand in China and Europe, they said.
TSMC dropped 6.11 percent, the most since Jan. 8, 2009, to close at NT$79.90 yesterday.
Goldman also downgraded United Microelectronics Corp (聯電), which dropped 4.2 percent to NT$12.55, to “sell” from “neutral.”
NT dollar slides
The New Taiwan dollar fell against the US dollar yesterday, declining NT$0.071 to close at NT$29.931. Turnover totaled US$1.02 billion during the trading session.