Taiwan News Morning Briefing – August 6
Taiwan News
2014-08-06 09:13 AM
Market & Commodity

Taiwan stock market (TWSE) opened 6.92 points, or 0.08 percent, higher to 9,148.36 on Wednesday, with turnover reaching NT$1.52 billion. Shares in Taiwan plummeted Tuesday to below 9,200 points at the close due to concern over the impact on the local petrochemical industry of last week's Kaohsiung explosions. The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended down 188.75 points or 2.02 percent at the day's low of 9,141.44.

■ U.S. stock market fell to its lowest point on Tuesday since May as traders worried that tensions between Russia and Ukraine could flare up. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 139 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 16,429. It was down almost 200 points in early afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 18 points, or 1 percent, to 1,920. The Nasdaq composite lost 31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,352. (AP)

World News

■ Israel and Hamas begin observing a temporary cease-fire that sets the stage for talks in Egypt on a broader deal on the Gaza Strip, including a sustainable truce and the rebuilding of the battered, blockaded coastal territory. (AP)

■ A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opens fire on foreign troops at a military base, causing casualties, an Afghan military spokesman says. The attack killed Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, a longtime officer who was leading efforts to train soldiers in Afghanistanthe and also the most senior U.S. officer since 9/11. (AP)

■ About 10,000 troops use pickaxes and backhoes to clear roads and dig residents from collapsed homes after an earthquake in southwest China that killed 410 people, as groups of volunteers use their bare hands. Sunday's 6.1-magnitude earthquake collapsed thousands of homes in an impoverished region of mountainous farmland. (AP)

■ A senior Japanese scientist embroiled in a stem-cell research scandal dies in an apparent suicide. Yoshiki Sasai, who supervised and co-authored stem-cell research papers that had to be retracted due to falsified content, was found with a rope around his neck, police say. (AP)

■ Toyota Motor Corp. reports a 5 percent jump in quarterly profit, outpacing expectations as vehicle sales grew in North America and Europe, offsetting a drop in Japan. The Japanese maker of the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury model said April-June profit totaled a record 587.77 billion yen ($5.7 billion) (AP)

Local News

■ Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu said Tuesday evening that culverts in question shall never go back and resume operation. She also stressed that to assure public safety of Kaohsiung citizens and progress of reconstruction work, the owners of culverts located in the blast area are required to clean up the remaining gases or petrochemical substances in culverts. In the future, the owners of all culverts located in Kaohsiung City for industrial use will have to report to the city government to undergo comprehensive reviews and inspections. Culverts fail to meet the safety inspection will be banned from use. (Taiwan News)

■ LCY Chemicals announced a voluntary four-day suspension of operation between August 6 and 9 as company staffs are set to attend the public funeral for explosion victims and to express their condolences and care. Also, LCY Chemical’s spokesperson Abby Pan stressed that the company’s net worth has reached around NT$22 billion and is capable of paying compensation to victims if found to be responsible for the accident. (Taiwan News)

■ Issues such as the raising of the financial business tax from 2% to 5% and subsequent property and casualty insurance payouts stemming from the Kaohsiung gas explosion have weighed down Taiwan’s financial shares in the near term. (Taiwan News)

■ Investigators from the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office checking the neighborhood where a gas leak caused multiple explosions Thursday have discovered that a pipeline belonging to LCY Chemical is located inside a rainwater drainage culvert on Er-sheng Road which was built by the municipal water district. Because of its location the line may have been exposed to acidic rainwater and other effluents over a long period of time. (Taiwan News)

■ In an effort to combat bargain-basement group tour prices, the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication is expected to force the reduction of shopping destinations on the itineraries of high-quality mainland tour groups. In the future, the current seven shopping destinations will be reduced to six. Upscale shopping destinations such as jewelry and jade shops will be further limited to one. Many mainland tourists focus on purchasing jewelry and jade in Taiwan. Whether this policy will reduce foreign exchange income derived from tourism is worth further observation. (Taiwan News)

■ According to the MOEA, the output value of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry from January to May 2014 was NT$600.3 billion for an annual growth rate of 14.2%. The integrated circuit industry accounted for the largest portion of output value at NT$391.6 billion, or 65% of total output followed by the semiconductor packaging and testing industry at NT$164.7 billion, or 27%. These two industries together accounted for over 90% of output value with annual growth rates of 14.7% and 16.6%, respectively. (CNA)

Taiwan and China will hold talks on a proposed bilateral merchandise trade agreement before the end of this month, Taiwan's Vice Economics Minister Cho Shih-chao said Tuesday. The two sides decided on the schedule at a meeting of the Cross-strait Economic Cooperation Committee that opened in Beijing earlier in the day, Cho said. (CNA)

■ Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) caucus secretary-general Fai Hrong-tai has been temporarily appointed KMT legislative caucus whip after Lin Hung-chih resigned over the poor results of President Ma Ying-jeou's Control Yuan nominations. Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, approved the personnel change Tuesday, a party official said. (CNA)

■ A U.S. senator is scheduled to visit Taiwan later this week as part of a trip to Asia to discuss regional security issues, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Tuesday. Senator Ronald Wyden (D-OR) is set to visit Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, during which he will meet with senior Taiwanese leaders, said the AIT, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties. (CNA)

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