Industry slumps 1.9 percent
Industrial output in November unexpectedly fell for the third consecutive month, data showed yesterday, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy shifted into a lower gear in the final quarter of last year. Industrial output was down 1.9 percent, way below a Reuters forecast of an increase of 0.3 percent, Federal Statistics Office data showed. The figure for October was revised down to a fall of 0.8 percent from a previously reported drop of 0.5 percent. Factories churned out fewer intermediate, capital and consumer goods, according to more detailed data published by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Output in the construction industry also decreased, as did production in the energy sector. The ministry pointed to special factors including an unusually high number of bridge days around national holidays and problems faced by the car industry as it adjusted to new emission standards.
China to outpace Germany
Chinese inventors last year received a record number of US patents and are on pace to overtake Germany in the No. 4 position of top recipients, an analysis of filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office showed. Inventors working for Chinese companies were issued 12,589 US patents, up 12 percent on the year and a 10-fold increase over the 1,223 they received a decade ago. The US still dominates the field, with 46 percent of the 308,853 US utility patents issued last year, followed by companies based in Japan, South Korea and Germany. Six of the top 10 recipients of patents are US companies, including top recipient IBM Corp and chip rivals Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc, as well as Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Ford Motor Co. The four Asian companies in the top 10 were Samsung Electronics Co at No. 2, Canon Inc, LG Electronics Inc and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電).
Boycott hitting Apple: bank
Chinese consumers might be staging an “informal boycott” of US products that is hitting Apple Inc’s iPhones, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said. If that is the case, it would help explain Apple’s warning last week that revenue from China was taking a hit, even as Chinese rivals post steady shipments. According to a survey conducted by equity research specialists, consumers in China and India are showing less interest in upgrading to an iPhone and more interest in upgrading to Xiaomi Corp (小米) and Samsung products, the bank said. Apple sales might also suffer from a general redirection of Chinese demand away from US products, the report said.
Daimler auto trucks eye US
Daimler AG this year is to start selling a heavy-duty truck in the US that is able to brake, accelerate and steer at all speeds on its own. This would coincide with the planned launch of Tesla Inc’s Semi truck, which would stoke competition at a time when demand in North America is forecast to soften. The updated Freightliner Cascadia, which would also have lane-keeping assistance, fuses information from radar and cameras to enable partially autonomous technology, Daimler said on Monday at the CES conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. To maintain its lead over Volvo AB and Paccar Inc, the manufacturer said it plans to within a decade offer highly automated vehicles on some routes.
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