Truckers go on strike
Truck drivers are on strike for the second time in less than a year, targeting major ports in a bid to disrupt key exports from autos to petrochemicals. The strike began yesterday, with demonstrations at 16 sites across the country. The Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union, which represents 25,000 workers, earlier this week said it planned to block all ports in the country. The work stoppage threatens a repeat of the union’s actions in June, when protests caused production disruptions costing about 1.6 trillion won (US$1.2 billion). Auto, petrochemical, steel and other key industries were hit as companies from POSCO Holdings Inc to Hyundai Motor Co curbed output. A lengthy dispute could affect global supply chains, as the country is the largest exporter of memory chips and is home to some of the world’s biggest automakers.
Gene therapy approved
Regulators approved CSL Behring’s hemophilia B gene therapy, a one-off infusion that frees patients from regular treatments, but costs US$3.5 million a dose, making it the most expensive medicine in the world. CSL Behring’s Hemgenix, administered just once, cut the number of bleeding events expected over the course of a year by 54 percent, a study found. It also freed 94 percent of patients from time-consuming and costly infusions of Factor IX, which is used to control the potentially deadly condition. “While the price is a little higher than expected, I do think it has a chance of being successful because 1) existing drugs are also very expensive and 2) hemophilia patients constantly live in fear of bleeds,” Loncar Investments chief executive officer Brad Loncar said.
LNG supplies tighten
Asia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot price rallied to the highest level since early last month on concern that disruptions to production and the arrival of colder weather in key markets could tighten supply. The Japan-Korea Marker, North Asia’s LNG benchmark, jumped 20 percent in the week through Wednesday to US$34.24 per million British thermal units, traders said. An ongoing outage at a key US export plant and forecasts for frigid weather in Europe are boosting global competition for the fuel this winter, and potentially curbing shipments to Asia, the traders said. Although LNG importers such as Japan and China are optimistic that they have secured enough fuel for winter, supplies remain tight and a sudden cold snap in those nations could quickly deplete inventories. Asia is in direct competition with energy-starved Europe for a dwindling amount of available LNG.
Interest rates rise to 2.5%
The Riksbank raised borrowing costs by 75 basis points, sustaining its heightened aggression against stubborn inflation even as the economy succumbs to a likely recession. In his final decision as central bank governor, Stefan Ingves and his colleagues lifted the key interest rate to 2.5 percent, the highest since 2008. “The forecast shows that the policy rate will probably be raised further at the beginning of next year and then be just below 3 percent,” the Riksbank said. The risk that “current high inflation will become entrenched is still substantial, and it is very important that monetary policy acts to ensure inflation falls back.” The inflation measure tracked by officials would average 5.7 percent next year, forecasts released with the decision said.
Local suppliers of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) appear to be divided over whether they should follow the chipmaker and also set up production facilities in the US, after TSMC announced that it would increase its investment in Arizona. While some TSMC suppliers, including clean-room design service provider United Integrated Services Co (漢唐集成), have set up plants in the US, others, such as IC testing and analysis provider Materials Analysis Technology Inc (閎康科技), have hesitated to make the move because of high production costs in the US. TSMC on Tuesday announced that it would increase its planned US$12 billion investment in
Netherlands-based ASML Holding NV, a leading global supplier of semiconductor production equipment, is considering bringing its European suppliers to Taiwan, doubling down on its supply-chain deployment in the country, Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. That follows ASML’s announcement that it would build manufacturing facilities in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口) to support international customers and the development of the semiconductor industry. RELOCATION Shen did not disclose details about ASML’s new efforts to relocate European supply chains to Taiwan. ASML is to begin construction on the New Taipei City project in July, Shen said during a speech at a technology forum
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is to build a wafer fab deploying 1 nanometer (nm) process technology at the Longtan (龍潭) campus of Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), Hsinchu Science Park Bureau Director-General Wayne Wang (王永壯) said yesterday. The bureau completed a pilot project in the middle of last month for the third expansion phase of the Longtan Science Park (龍潭科學園區) in Taoyuan to accommodate the new TSMC plant, Wang told a news conference. The pilot expansion project has been submitted to the National Science and Technology Council, which would next forward the project to the Cabinet for approval, Wang said. “The efforts
MORE ADVANCED CHIPS: The company is planning to build a second, 3-nanometer fab in Arizona, TSMC said ahead of a ‘tool-in’ ceremony at its first plant near Phoenix Apple Inc is to be the biggest customer of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) new Arizona factories, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote on Twitter yesterday. “Apple silicon unlocks a new level of performance for our users. And soon, many of these chips can be stamped ‘Made in America.’ The opening of TSMC’s plant in Arizona marks a new era of advanced manufacturing in the US — and we are proud to become the site’s largest customer,” he wrote. Cook’s tweet came as TSMC held a “tool-in” ceremony for its US$12 billion wafer fab in Arizona on Tuesday, which marked the beginning