■ Good growth spurs investment
Private investment in major projects for next year is expected to exceed NT$1 trillion (US$30.7 billion) on the back of continuing growth in the electronics and information sector, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Major investment projects, referring to those valued at NT$100 million or more, amounted to NT$915.8 billion in the first 11 months of this year, compared with NT$890 billion for all of last year, the ministry said.
"Strong demand for flat-panel displays worldwide is encouraging thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display makers to invest more. The electronic and information sector is expected to pour an extra NT$550 billion into investments next year," a ministry official said.
Also for next year, the metal and machinery sector is expected to attract NT$241 billion in new investments and the chemical industry NT$133 billion, the ministry said.
It said NT$39 billion is expected for new projects in technology services and NT$33 billion for the wholesale and logistics sector.
■ EnTie ratings fall
Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) yesterday lowered its long-term credit rating for EnTie Commercial Bank (安泰銀行) to "twBBB+" from "twA-." The outlook on the long-term rating was revised to stable from negative.
The rating revision reflects EnTie's weakened financial profile, particularly its capitalization, mainly arising from sizeable credit costs as it lacks adequate underwriting controls when dealing with the high-risk balance transfer business, the local arm of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said.
The ratings also factor in the bank's average pre-provision profitability and efforts to clean up impaired assets.
Despite a cash injection of NT$2.9 billion (US$89 million) in March this year, EnTie is unlikely to restore its capitalization unless it undertakes additional fund raising, Taiwan Ratings said.
■ Online shopping trumps TV
Taiwanese consumers tend to spend more on online shopping than on TV shopping, according to the results of a survey released yesterday by National Central University's Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development.
The survey showed that 40.8 percent of consumers made purchases through TV shopping networks over the past six months, with 57.3 percent spending between NT$1,000 and NT$3,000 on each purchase.
The most popular product on TV shopping networks is household items, followed by computers and travel packages, it said.
Similar to the TV shopping trend, household products, computers and travel packages are the three most popular products among online shoppers.
■ Firms want more foreigners
Factories in the nation's economic processing zones urged the government yesterday to import more foreign laborers to help them overcome a growing shortage of manpower as the economy recovers.
A company owner based in the Nantze Export Processing Zone said that certain sectors, particularly labor-intensive garment and electronics factories, desperately need more workers to maintain normal operations, and they hoped the government would allow more foreign laborers to work there.
Government statistics show that more than 70,000 workers are employed by factories in economic processing zones across the country, some 7,000 of whom are foreign nationals.
■ NT dollar rises
The New Taiwan dollar traded higher against its US counterpart yesterday, advancing NT$0.064 to close at NT$32.596 on the Taipei Forex Inc.
Turnover was US$958 million.
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