HK index posts yearly gain
Hong Kong shares ended flat yesterday as upbeat Chinese manufacturing data was offset by concerns over gridlock in talks to avert the “fiscal cliff” in Washington.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 9.67 points lower at 22,656.92 on turnover of HK$28.79 billion (US$3.71 billion) in half-day trade ahead of the New Year break.
However, the market ended 22.91 percent higher for the year, reversing the 20 percent fall of 2011.
Chinese shares closed up 1.61 percent at a seven-month high.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 35.88 points to 2,269.13. The benchmark index has gained 3.17 percent this year.
Elsewhere in Asia, Sydney closed 0.48 percent lower to 4,648.9, although the index was up 14.60 percent over the past 12 months.
Wellington was 0.35 percent lower to 4,066.51, but adding 24.51 percent for last year.
Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila were all closed for public holidays.
Taichung property improving
The property market in Greater Taichung showed signs of a recovery in the second half of last year as housing transactions picked up following a decline in the previous six months, Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋) said on Saturday.
Sinyi Realty, the nation’s only listed broker, cited property transaction data in the past few months as suggesting that the impact from the luxury tax on the property market in Taichung has been fading.
Chen Ching-tang (陳進堂), a manager with Sinyi Realty, said although residential and commercial property sales in Taichung for the first 11 months of last year fell by 7,405 units from the same period a year earlier to 42,049 units.
There has been growth in transactions in most of the past five months.
Meanwhile, Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) cited self-compiled statistics saying housing transactions in Greater Taichung posted a 15 percent month-on-month increase last month.
Yung Ching said property sales in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市) during the same period rose 17 percent and 6 percent respectively, from a month earlier, while transactions in Greater Kaohsiung fell 9 percent.
Manufacturing ranked No. 6
Taiwan’s manufacturing sector ranked sixth in a global competitiveness ranking this year, but is expected to fall to place seventh by 2018, due to the rise of Brazil, leading professional services firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited said on Saturday.
Deloitte, which publishes the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index once every two years, gave Taiwan 7.57 points (on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest) in the survey, putting it behind China, Germany, the US, India and South Korea.
The survey saw Brazil move from eighth last year to third in 2018, India improving to second in the 2018 ranking and the top five countries on the list being China, India, Brazil, Germany and the US.
Taiwan should upgrade the strength of its manufacturing industry by cultivating talent, improving work effcienicy and encouraging a more flexible management system, said Jun Kung (龔俊吉) of Deloitte Taiwan.
The key to creating substantial value and competing in the international market is to have an innovative operating model, Kung said.
Agency upgrades Fubon outlook
Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) has revised its outlook on Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行) to “negative” from “stable” after its parent Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) announced plans on Thursday to acquire an 80 percent stake in China’s First Sino Bank (華一銀行).
Taiwan Ratings, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s, made the ratings adjustment on Friday due to concerns about Fubon Bank’s capitalization, assuming the Taiwanese group fails to provide sufficient capital to its banking subsidiary to fund the purchase of Shanghai-based First Sino Bank.
Fubon Bank’s risk-adjusted capital could also weaken if it and First Sino Bank adopt aggressive growth strategy over the coming one to two years, Taiwan Ratings said in a statement.