TAIEX closes little changed
The TAIEX closed little changed yesterday after an early 100-point plunge triggered by a poor showing by US markets overnight amid fears over an outbreak of COVID-19. The weighted index closed 5.36 points, or 0.05 percent, higher at 11,540.23 on turnover of NT$153.815 billion (US$5.06 billion). Foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$11.28 billion of shares after a net sale of NT$26.34 billion on Monday, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed. “It seemed that the market got solid technical support at the 120-day moving average of about 11,439 points,” Mega International Investment Services Corp (兆豐國際投顧) analyst Alex Huang (黃國偉) said.
Housing loans rise further
Housing loans and lending to the construction sector continued to increase last month, monthly data released by the central bank showed yesterday. Housing loans grew 6.16 percent year-on-year to NT$7.43 trillion, the bank’s tallies showed. The figure increased slightly by 0.18 percent from the previous month due to the effect of the Lunar New Year holiday, the bank said. Construction loans grew 12.75 percent year-on-year to NT$2.1 trillion last month. The number rose by just 0.48 percent from the previous month because of seasonal factors, the bank said.
Foreign investments passed
The Investment Commission on Monday approved Samoa-registered Good Flavor Alpha Ltd’s application to invest NT$478 million to finance a Taiwanese enterprise making bread and other baked goods. It also approved a Hong Kong company’s plan to invest NT$360 million in a Taiwanese maker of computer and peripheral equipment and medical devices, as well as another Hong Kong firm’s investment of NT$224 million in a local chemical producer. In terms of outbound investment, Taichung-based Johnson Health Tech Co (喬山健康科技) received approval to invest ￥6.24 billion (US$56.4 million) to buy a 60 percent stake in Fuji Medical Instruments Manufacturing Co, the commission said.
SBI leads CoolBitX funding
Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc is leading a group of investors participating in a Series B US$16.75 million funding round for CoolBitX (庫幣科技), a Taiwanese blockchain security company offering services to help crypto exchanges comply with more stringent international standards for collection of user information. Other participants in the fundraising include the National Development Fund, Japan’s Monex Group Inc and South Korean crypto exchange BitSonic, a CoolBitX press release said. SBI Holdings was among investors participating in the Series A US$13 million funding round in 2018, the company said.
‘Next Magazine’ closing
Taiwan’s version of the Chinese-language Next Magazine (壹週刊) is to cease online publication on Saturday, less than two years after closing its print edition and almost two decades after its launch. In a statement posted on its Web site last week, the publisher attributed the closure to a restructuring at its parent company, Hong Kong-based media conglomerate Next Digital Ltd (壹傳媒). The company said it would protect the rights of its employees, as well as subscribers, which would be given the choice of a cash refund or transferring their subscription to Taiwan’s Apple Daily Web site.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a