Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) yesterday said that the ministry would work with local manufacturers to assess the effects of flailing oil prices, after international crude prices on Monday suffered their worst day since 1991 amid a price dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“The current outlook for Taiwan’s economic development appears to be shrouded in a lot of uncertainties,” Shen told reporters prior to attending a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee, referring to the crash of oil markets.
“We will hold meetings with businesses in the ICT [information and communication technology] industry, the consumer goods industry, the chemical materials industry and the base metal industry as well as the machinery equipment industry,” Shen said, adding that the ministry would also consult the services sector, which depends largely on domestic market demand.
Photo: Lin Ching-hua, Taipei Times
The ministry would seek opinions and suggestions across these industries to devise a plan to assist businesses facing challenges, he said.
The ministry would closely monitor the effects of fluctuating oil prices on Taiwanese industries, he added.
Global oil prices recovered to some degree on Tuesday, but dipped again yesterday, with benchmarks Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate Crude declining about 3 to 4 percent to between US$33 and US$35 per barrel.
Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (台灣經濟研究院) analyst Lo Kai-chen (羅凱禎) said that domestic petrochemical businesses are facing inevitable declines this quarter, as they already face slumping market demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported.
With oil prices falling, some hope the ministry would freeze electricity prices at the electricity price review committee meeting next week.
The committee has left rates unchanged since September 2018.
The ministry said that state-run Taiwan Power Co (台電) would refrain from increasing rates for mask makers so they can meet daily production targets of 10 million masks by next week.
State-owned Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖) also said that it would extend payments owed until the end of the year for businesses that have leased land from it.
Meanwhile, state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) might adjust downward its weekly prices for domestic gasoline and diesel products by between NT$3.6 and NT$3.8 next week, which would be the largest cut in history based on CPC's floating oil price formula.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the