Thursday, 9 December 2004

Slowdown in economy and technology continues

Economic news from Asia today suggests the economic slowdown continues.

Core machinery orders keep falling, gov't cuts assessment
Japan's core private-sector machinery orders in October shrank for the second straight monthly decline, the government said Thursday as it cut its assessment of the key economic indicator for the second consecutive month. Core machinery orders, which are considered a leading indicator of corporate capital spending six to nine months ahead, fell a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent to 900.1 billion yen, the Cabinet Office said. The figure represents an unadjusted 9.9 percent drop from a year earlier -- the first decline in nine months...

China's November industrial output up 14.8 percent
China's industrial output in November rose 14.8 percent year-on-year after a 15.7 percent gain in October, official data shows. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the monthly figure slowed from 17.9 percent for the same month last year, while output for the first 11 months of 2004 grew 16.8 percent, unchanged from the same period last year...

The corporate news from Asia and overnight from the US -- particularly from the technology sector -- suggests the same.

Taiwan's TSMC sales keep falling in November
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's leading contract microchip maker, has reported a continued slowing in sales, with November down 8.6 percent from October due to a fall in shipments and the weakening US dollar. Sales in November came in at 20.99 billion Taiwan dollars (650 million US), down from 22.97 billion dollars in October but up 13.4 percent year-on-year...

Xilinx, Altera cut targets for current quarter
Xilinx and Altera, the two largest manufacturers of programmable microchips, both cut their sales goals for the current quarter late Wednesday. Also, both companies said they expect inventory to rise to worse-than-expected levels...

Hopes for Japan to contribute to world economic growth must be fading rapidly by now. China and the US remain the only significant engines of world economic growth.

As for the technology sector, the optimism provided by Intel last week appears to have been erased by the latest reports from Xilinx, Altera and TSMC.

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