NT dollar barely budges
The New Taiwan dollar was little changed yesterday and the country’s stock and bond markets were closed ahead of Lunar New Year holiday.
The NT dollar fell NT$0.008 to close at NT$29.630 against its US counterpart as the central bank’s intervention efforts pushed up the greenback for the third consecutive day, dealers said.
Before the bank’s intervention, the NT dollar was rising, but a falling Chinese yuan let some air out of the local currency, they said.
Turnover totaled US$603 million during the trading session.
“It’s the long holiday coming, volume has dropped dramatically,” said Tarsicio Tong (湯健揚), a Taipei-based currency trader at Union Bank of Taiwan (聯邦銀行). “The Taiwan dollar could extend its fall after the holiday as we’re seeing declines in the other major Asian currencies.”
Taiwan Cement warns over unit
Taiwan Cement Corp (台灣水泥) yesterday said its Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, TCC International Holdings Ltd (台泥國際集團), could witness a profit fall of about 60 percent in the wake of a supply glut and declining product prices in China.
In the six months to June last year, TCC posted HK$262.85 million (US$33.92 million) in net profit, compared with HK$931.96 million in net profit recorded in the same period of 2011. TCC’s earnings per share in the first half of last year fell to HK$0.061 from about HK$0.28.
For all of last year, the company’s bottom line is expected to be “adversely affected” and it is possible that a year-on-year decline of about 60 percent in net profit will be reported, TCC said in a profit warning to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
OBUs post record savings
Taiwan’s offshore banking units (OBUs) recorded 24.04 billion yuan (US$3.85 billion) in savings in December last year, a record high since the Financial Supervisory Commission opened up yuan operations for OBUs in July 2011.
Taiwan’s OBUs recorded savings of 19.31 billion yuan in October last year, 21.49 billion yuan in November and 24.04 billion yuan in December, a monthly increase of 11.9 percent, according to statistics published by the central bank on Wednesday.
Among the 62 OBUs, total assets of US$170.91 billion were recorded in December, also hitting a record high, the data showed.
NDF invests in Drug R&D Fund
The National Development Fund’s (NDF) steering committee on Wednesday agreed to inject US$30 million into Drug R&D Fund LP, an venture capital instrument initiated by Japan’s Daiwa Corporate Investment Co Ltd.
The Drug R&D Fund is expected to raise up to US$100 million from Japanese pharmaceutical companies and will use the money to invest in biochemical firms in Taiwan and Japan, the committee said in a statement.
The committee said it hoped the partnership with Drug R&D Fund will help introduce technological know-how from Japan, while gaining steady income from investing in Japanese pharmaceutical firms.
A committee official said the Drug R&D Fund needed to raise at least US$75 million by February next year, or the investment project would be cancelled. The total capital of the fund is set to be no more than US$150 billion.
National debt increases
National debt was NT$231,000 (US$7,800) per person as of the end of last month, up NT$7,000 from the end of last year, due to routine spending before the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
National debt, including long-term and short-term debt, amounted to NT$6.23 trillion as of the end of last month, up NT$99.55 billion from a month earlier, the ministry’s data showed.
Government bonds — the central government’s outstanding debt with a maturity of more than a year — totaled NT$5.945 trillion, while Treasury bills — outstanding debt with a maturity of less than a year — stood at NT$285 billion, the data showed.
China’s SUV sales surge
China’s passenger-vehicle sales surged 49 percent to a monthly record, beating analysts’ estimates, as demand for SUVs almost doubled and Ford Motor Co extended gains in market share.
Wholesale deliveries climbed to 1.73 million units last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in an e-mail yesterday. That compares with the 1.5 million unit average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.