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Financial firms dump stocks, flock to bonds

The rush for bonds has been driven by expectations of further rate hikes by the Fed and a global rout in stock markets, a government agency said

The nation’s manufacturers in the second quarter of this year invested NT$539.7 billion (US$17.24 billion) in fixed assets, setting a record for the quarter, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday last week.

Investments rose 25.8 percent from a year earlier and 11.6 percent from a quarter earlier, driven mainly by semiconductor firms expanding production, the ministry said.

Manufacturers’ fixed assets include machinery and other production equipment, factories, and transportation equipment, but exclude land purchases.

Photo: CNA

The nation’s major semiconductor firms have poured funds into fixed assets from April to June to maintain their lead in high-end processes and meet demand for emerging technologies, such as 5G applications, high-performance computing devices and automotive electronics, the ministry said.

Memory chip and printed circuit board suppliers also increased their fixed-asset investments during the period, it added.

The electronic components sector spent NT$387.3 billion on fixed assets, up 35.9 percent annually and 9.1 percent quarterly, the ministry said.

Their spending accounted for 71.8 percent of all fixed-asset investments by the manufacturing sector, it added.

The chemical materials sector followed with investment of NT$28.1 billion, or 5.2 percent of the total investment by manufacturers. The figure rose 8.3 percent from a year earlier and 41.1 percent from a quarter earlier, as semiconductor makers placed large orders, the ministry said.

Many petrochemical firms also invested large sums in equipment to manufacture value-added products, it said.

The computer and optoelectronics industry took third place with investment of NT$14.1 billion, up 1.7 percent from a year earlier and 16.3 percent from a quarter earlier on the back of strong demand for servers and Web communications devices.

The nation’s manufacturing sector posted revenue of NT$8.72 trillion, up 10.4 percent from a year earlier and 4.3 percent from a quarter earlier, and the highest level for the second quarter, thanks to solid global demand for technology devices and rising raw material prices, the ministry said.

The figure includes revenue generated from overseas production facilities.

Fixed-asset investments are likely to continue growing as semiconductor firms expand production and offshore wind firms develop new projects, the ministry said.

However, geopolitical tensions, rising inflation and inventory adjustments could compromise growth, it said.

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