Business sentiment improved last month among local manufacturers and service providers, but property developers turned slightly cautious after policymakers voiced concern about housing price hikes, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The sentiment gauge for the manufacturing industry was 103.11, gaining for the seventh straight month to its highest level since August 2014, as demand for electronics remained strong, even though some products have probably plateaued, the Taipei-based think tank said.
“The manufacturing industry made a significant contribution to the nation’s economic growth this year, especially suppliers of semiconductors, as well as information and communication technology products,” TIER president Chang Chien-yi (張建一) said.
The business upturn, initially limited to tech firms, this quarter became broad-based after demand for machinery equipment, base metals, plastics and other non-technology products started to pick up, Chang said.
That explained why industrial production last month grew 7.84 percent year-on-year, while export orders jumped 12 percent to a record high, he said.
Looking forward, 32 percent of manufacturers are upbeat about their business prospects in the coming six months, up 6.6 percentage points from one month earlier, the monthly survey showed.
Firms with a cautious outlook dropped 1.7 percentage points to 16.7 percent, mostly printing businesses or garment and leather product makers, it said.
Chang said that the global business landscape is in a state of darkness before dawn and would soon brighten up after rapid and wide-spread COVID-19 vaccinations.
The confidence reading for service providers edged up 0.02 percentage points to 96.84, as sectors hold different views, the survey showed.
Most shipping companies, logistics firms and stock brokerages are upbeat, but restaurants and telecoms have dim views, it showed.
Shipping and logistics firms have benefited during the Christmas holiday season, while securities companies have experienced a boost from global monetary easing that fueled liquidity-driven rallies across global bourses, the survey showed.
Restaurants, on the other hand, are taking a hit from major local companies canceling traditional year-end feasts to help curb COVID-19 infection risks, it showed.
The sentiment measure for civil engineering and real-estate companies shed 2.22 percentage points to 109.23, ending two months of gains, the survey showed.
Government agencies last month revived talks of credit control measures to rein in property price hikes and earlier this month they were implemented, TIER said.
Fifty-five percent of companies in the sector expect a business decline in the next six months, the survey showed.
TIER said that credit controls would help prevent land hoarding and housing price hikes, allowing the property market to maintain healthy growth.
RETAIL BANKING EXIT: Clients are concerned whether their rights would be protected, while employees were caught by surprise as the bank had just upgraded its services Citibank Taiwan Ltd (花旗台灣) yesterday said that credit card clients could continue using their cards as operations would continue normally until it sells its consumer banking business. As of February, the bank had 2.86 million credit cards in circulation in Taiwan, of which 2.17 million had been used in the past six months, ranking it sixth among all banks, data from the Financial Supervisory Commission showed. Credit card spending by Citibank clients totaled NT$15.66 billion (US$552.6 million) in February, also ranking sixth among banks in Taiwan. Citibank was the only foreign bank that made it into the top six. Customers should not
FUTURE GROWTH: TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei said customer demand for 3 and 5-nanometer technologies is so strong that it needs to spend on more capacity Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday raised this year’s capital expenditure to a record US$30 billion, as demand for advanced chips used in high-performance-computing (HPC) applications is stronger than last quarter. The figure surpasses the chipmaker’s allocation in January of US$25 billion to US$28 billion. The investment is part of a three-year US$100 billion capital expansion plan that TSMC unveiled earlier this month. “As we enter a period of higher growth, underpinned by the multiple years of structural mega-trends of 5G-related and HPC applications, we believe a higher level of capital investment is necessary to capture the future growth opportunities,” TSMC
PANDEMIC EFFECT: Chromebook shipments in the first quarter more than tripled from a year earlier, driven primarily by educational institutions in North America Despite a semiconductor shortage, global PC shipments in the first quarter of this year increased 32 percent from a year earlier, preliminary data from research firm Gartner Inc showed. Shipments in the January-to-March period totaled 69.87 million units from 52.93 million units a year earlier, Gartner said in a report on Monday last week. The quarterly increase in shipments marked the fastest annual growth since it began tracking the PC market in 2000, Gartner said. “This growth should be viewed in the context of two unique factors: comparisons against a pandemic-constrained market and the current global semiconductor shortage,” Gartner research director Mikako Kitagawa
UNWINDING BIGGEST DEAL: Five years ago, Dell acquired VMware’s parent, EMC Corp, for US$67 billion, which helped the PC maker to branch out from its origins Dell Technologies Inc on Wednesday said that it would spin off its stake in VMware Inc, creating two publicly traded companies and raising cash to pay down debt. Its shares jumped on the announcement. The spinoff would unwind, at least in part, a consolidation created five years ago in Dell’s US$67 billion acquisition of VMware’s parent, EMC Corp. The spending spree helped Dell branch out from its origins as a PC maker, but left the company saddled with debt. VMware would distribute a special cash dividend of US$11.5 billion to US$12 billion to shareholders at the close of the deal, which is