TAIEX edges down
The TAIEX edged lower yesterday amid concerns that the country’s second-generation health insurance program may directly affect investors. The weighted index ranged between a high of 7,707.89 and a low of 7,657.88, before finishing down 39.44 points, or 0.51 percent, at 7,675.72. Turnover was NT$56.29 billion (US$1.92 billion), the lowest since July 25.
The local bourse was also hurt by losses on Friday on Wall Street and on European markets, which stumbled on fresh concerns over new budget cuts proposed by Spain’s government.
A total of 1,557 stocks closed up, 2,394 finished down and 403 remained unchanged.
Most of the market’s eight major stock categories closed down, with food shares suffering the heaviest losses at 0.9 percent.
Mega Securities Co (兆豐證券) analyst Alex Huang said the local bourse will likely be in a correctional mode in the short term, with the TAIEX remaining above 7,600.
Despite worries over the prolonged European debt crisis, the TAIEX may regain momentum as exports in the fourth quarter are expected to improve, Huang said.
Increase in workers on leave
The number of workers sent on unpaid leave by their employers has increased by 581 in the past two weeks, government statistics showed yesterday.
The two-week increase from 1,014 to 1,595 is the biggest so far this year, according to statistics released by the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA).
As of Sunday, workers from 36 companies had reached agreements with their employers to take unpaid leave, with 1,413 of them already on a furlough, the statistics showed.
The number has risen sharply from Sept. 15, when 1,014 workers from 32 companies had agreed to furlough arrangements, with 1,009 of them on leave at the time.
Many of the furloughed workers are from the electronics and manufacturing industries, the CLA said.
The council said it will continue to monitor the situation and assist local labor administrations on matters regarding workers’ rights.
US beef reaches shelves
US beef containing permitted traces of the formerly banned drug ractopamine has hit the shelves of major hypermarkets in Taiwan, including Carrefour and Costco, while the locally based retail giant RT-Mart has decided not to sell US beef products.
US beef products are between 10 and 20 percent more expensive than products from New Zealand and Australia, with chuck short ribs selling for NT$550 (US$18.7) per kilogram, rib fingers for NT$450 per kilogram and boneless short plate ribs for NT$820 per kilogram, according to Carrefour, which started selling US beef on Sunday.
Imports of US beef remain small for now, but some customers have been buying beef for barbecues to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, the French retailer said.
Sales figures will not be available for another one or two weeks, it added.
US warehouse club operator Costco has allowed individual stores to sell small amounts of beef to test the market and evaluate consumer demand.
The Legislature passed amendments to the food safety act in late July lifting the ban on beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, opening the way for US beef imports containing limited amounts of the livestock feed additive.
NT dollar declines
The New Taiwan dollar fell against the US dollar yesterday, declining NT$0.06 to close at NT$29.402.
Turnover totaled approximately US$488 million during the trading session.