Sat, Jun 03, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan Business Quick Take

Staff writer, with agencies

MANUFACTURING

Sector registers ‘yellow-blue’

The local manufacturing sector was “yellow-blue” in April for the second consecutive month, while the index that gauges the climate of the sector dropped from the previous month, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday. The institute uses a five-color system to indicate domestic economic activity, with “yellow-blue” suggesting sluggish growth. The institute said that the composite index for the local manufacturing sector fell 0.33 points in April from a month earlier to 10.58 and remained “yellow-blue,” or between 10.5 and 13 points. The fall indicated that growth decelerated for export orders, industrial production and bilateral trade, TIER said.

HOUSING

Transaction activity rises

Housing transactions in the six major municipalities — Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung — increased by between 5 percent and 23 percent last month from the previous month, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported yesterday, citing data compiled by local-government agencies. Transactions in Kaohsiung increased by 23 percent from April, outperforming the other special municipalities, the report said. Transactions in Taipei increased by 21 percent month-on-month and showed the second-highest growth among the six cities. Overall transactions in the municipalities were 17,600 units last month, an increase of 15.8 percent from April, the report said. The figure represented the highest level of the year due to favorable prices, but it remained 1 percent lower than a year earlier, it said.

BANKING

First Financial rated ‘neutral’

Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) on Thursday gave a “neutral” outlook for state-run First Financial Holding Co (第一金控) due to a lack of clear earnings growth catalysts for its flagship banking unit this year. The unlikelihood of an interest-rate hike in the second half of this year has ruled out significant growth momentum for First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), as domestic loans make up 80 percent of the lender’s loan book, Yuanta analyst Peggy Shih (施姵帆) wrote in a note to clients. In addition, the lender’s low proportion of foreign-currency-denominated loans would benefit little from the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, Shih said. First Financial has announced plans to distribute a cash dividend of NT$1.2 per share, translating to a payout of 83 percent, up from 65 percent the previous year.

ELECTRONICS

Apple speaker expected

Apple Inc is preparing to launch a connected speaker to serve as a “smart” home assistant in a challenge to Amazon Echo and Google Home, a report said on Thursday. The speaker, powered by Apple’s digital assistant Siri, might be unveiled at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in Silicon Valley, California, next week, Bloomberg News reported. The new device — speculation about which has been swirling for months — could entice software makers to tailor applications or services for a broader array of Apple hardware, the report said. Like Echo and Home devices gaining traction in the market, an Apple home assistant could let people control lights and appliances, and interact with the Internet using voice commands. Apple did not reply to a request for comment.

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