Mizuho Financial Group, one of Japan's Big Four banks, yesterday sharply lifted its earnings forecast for the first fiscal half ending Sept. 30, citing a decline in bad loan write-off costs. \nMizuho, the world's biggest bank in terms of assets, expects a ?230 billion (US$2.1 billion) profit for the six-month period, up from ?100 billion (US$901 million) projected earlier. \nMizuho Financial Group kept the outlook for group operating revenue the same from the earlier projection in May of ?1.6 trillion (US$14 billion). Mizuho said it will release its earnings forecast for the full fiscal year through March when it announces interim results in November. \nMizuho shares have more than tripled since March on signs that Japan's economic recovery is gathering momentum, making it easier for borrowers to repay loans. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last month reiterated his resolve to clean up US$384 billion of bad loans remaining at Mizuho and other lenders. \n"Japanese bank stocks have become a leveraged play on the market and to an extent on the economy as a whole," said Jonathan Allum, Japan strategist at KBC Financial Products UK Ltd. in London. "The wind is blowing in the right direction. When it's good it's very good, when it bad it's horrid." \n`This revision offers further confirmation for investors that Japan's banks are likely to return to profit in their current business year after two years of losses," said Nedeltcho Akov, a banking analyst at ING Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. \nMizuho and other Japanese banks have pledged to turn into the black this year after posting massive losses over the past two or three years. The nation's recent economic recovery and the rise on the Tokyo stock exchange have helped the performance of Japan's banks, which have been struggling with loans gone sour. \nJapan's economy has gradually recovered from a long slowdown in recent months.
RESTRUCTURING: Taichung and Taoyuan profited most from local firms moving back high-end manufacturing amid the US-China decoupling of trade ties, the ministry said The government’s “Invest in Taiwan” initiative might this year see NT$627.1 billion (US$21.7 billion) of investment pledges realized, with several firms raising stakes and two dropouts due to customer losses, Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said yesterday. Wang made the statement at the monthly meeting of the Third Wednesday Club, a local trade group featuring the top 100 firms of each business sector. Since early last year, the government has launched three programs intended to help local companies grapple with US-China trade rows and the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly through moving production lines back to Taiwan. Thus far, the ministry
JOBS AT RISK? Most Cathay Dragon routes are to be operated by Cathay Pacific or a subsidiary, but it was unclear how Taiwanese workers would be affected Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) yesterday said it is planning new flight services for Taiwan as it announced a corporate restructuring that included the shutdown of its regional subsidiary, Cathay Dragon (國泰港龍), and could lead to job cuts in Taiwan. Cathay Pacific said the shutdown means that the one round-trip service between Taichung and Hong Kong per day and seven round-trip services between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong operated by Cathay Dragon prior to the COVID-19 pandemic would be terminated. “The parent company is planning a new schedule between Taiwan and Hong Kong,” Cathay Pacific assistant manager for corporate communications Moses Hou (侯恩錫)
OVERHEATED MARKET?: The gauge would be designed to provide more reliable information than private-sector data, and help improve policymaking, the council said The National Development Council (NDC) is considering creating a business climate index on Taiwan’s property market, allowing policymakers to better monitor market movements and intervene if necessary, NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday. Kung made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature’s Economic Committee where lawmakers from across party lines voiced concerns about housing price hikes driven by capital repatriation. Kung said that the council is assessing the possibility of creating an index designed to provide more accountable and transparent information than data provided by private-sector market analysts, and could help improve policymaking. The council would compile a report on
STOCK MARKETS TAIEX closes slightly higher The TAIEX closed slightly higher yesterday as market sentiment remained cautious over the Nov. 3 US presidential election. Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was again the anchor stabilizing the broader market, preventing the main board from falling into negative territory at the end of the session, dealers said. The TAIEX closed up 14.88 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,877.25, on turnover of NT$167.982 billion (US$5.81 billion). TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, rose 0.44 percent after fluctuating between NT$451 and NT$456. The semiconductor subindex and the bellwether electronics sector