South Korea raises budget
The South Korean government is to spend a record 386.7 trillion won (US$322.83 billion) next year. The proposed budget for next year is 2 trillion won more than this year’s 384.7 trillion won spending plans, which included a supplementary package approved in July. The government’s debt is expected to climb to a record 40.1 percent of the country’s GDP as the deficit reaches 2.3 percent of GDP next year, the South Korean Ministry of Finance said in its budget proposal. It said South Korea is expected to have a budget shortfall through 2019. The government has cut its growth forecast for next year to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent.
German trade hits new high
Germany’s exports and imports rose to new monthly records in July, the federal statistics office Destatis said yesterday. The country exported 103.4 billion euros (US$115.67 billion) worth of goods in seasonally adjusted terms in July, 2.4 percent more than in the previous month. At the same time, imports grew by 2.2 percent to 80.6 billion euros. That left a trade surplus of 22.8 billion euros, up from 22.1 billion euros the previous month, Destatis said in a statement.
Business conditions improve
The nation’s business conditions last month were the strongest in 10 months, according to a survey released yesterday by National Australia Bank Ltd. The survey showed that: Business conditions rose five points to +11; the highest since October last year; Business confidence fell three points to +1, the weakest since July 2013; Business trading rose eight points to +20, while profitability rose five points to +12. The improvement in business conditions “adds to the mounting evidence that Australian dollar depreciation and record low interest rates are having the desired effect and helping to offset the weakness in mining,” the bank said in a statement.
Free Wi-Fi planned
The government is planning to provide free Wi-Fi services to half of its towns and cities this year and nationwide coverage by the end of next year, limiting the data revenue prospects for Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co and Globe Telecom Inc. The free Internet service is set to cost the government about 1.5 billion pesos (US$31.97 million) per year and is to be available in areas such as public schools, hospitals, airports and parks, Information and Communications Technology Office deputy executive director Monchito Ibrahim said. The new service is expected to push data charges lower in the nation. Access to the Internet costs about US$18 per megabit per second in the country.
RSA quits Latin America
British insurer and takeover target Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) yesterday said that it has agreed to sell its Latin American operations to Colombian investment group Inversiones Suramericana for ￡403 million (US$619.27 million) in cash. The London-listed insurance firm had last month received a ￡5.6 billion takeover approach from Swiss rival Zurich Insurance. The Latin American sale would be “significantly” positive for RSA’s capital, RSA said in a statement. The deal is not conditional on the outcome of an offer from Zurich, which was aware of the sale plan before it announced the acquisition plan last month, RSA added.
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