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The Star Online: Business

Taiwan approves 'rich man's tax'

Posted: 16 May 2014 08:20 PM PDT

TAIPEI: Taiwan's parliament has approved a so-called "rich man's tax" on nearly 10,000 of the island's wealthiest people in a bid to narrow the widening income gap.

Starting next year, those with annual net income of over Tw$10 million ($333,000), or the richest 1.5 percent of individuals or families, will be subject to a 45 percent income tax rate, up from the current 40 percent, said the finance ministry.
The revised income tax law passed by parliament Friday also includes business tax hikes on banks and insurers as well as more tax deductions for low-income families, salarymen and the disabled, the ministry said.
It is expected to generate an extra Tw$65 billion more a year in revenue for the government, including Tw$9.9 billion from the richest people as well as around Tw$20 billion from the banking and insurance sectors.
Finance minister Chang Sheng-ford has said that the taxation reform was aimed at improving income distribution and was backed by tycoons such as Foxconn Group founder Terry Gou.
Taiwan's income gap reached a record level in 2011, as the wealthiest families earned 96 times more than the poorest, according to the latest official data.
The bottom five percent of families reported an average annual income of Tw$48,000, compared with Tw$4.63 million earned by the top five percent in 2011, based on their income tax filings.

Observers have blamed the rapidly widening gap between the rich and the poor as one of the reasons behind a recent string of anti-government protests. - AFP

Rubber price may follow weak TOCOM next week

Posted: 16 May 2014 08:09 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Rubber prices on the Malaysian rubber market may trade lower next week, following expectations of a weaker Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM).

A dealer said sentiment in Japan remains weak, reflecting a stronger yen, amid an outlook of more supplies.
"Dealers expect more supply from the producing countries in the market soon because of the end of the wintering season in the region, which will further pressure prices," he said. 
He said the fall in the dollar/yen is probably having the biggest impact, and TOCOM rubber could be trading below 200 yen next week, which could accelerate further selling.
On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the Malaysian Rubber Board's official physical price for tyre-grade SMR 20 at noon rose 12.5 sen to 543.5 sen a kg, and latex-in-bulk gained three sen for 456 sen a kg.

The 5 pm closing price for tyre-grade SMR 20 added 13 sen to 541 sen a kg, while latex-in-bulk increased 4.5 sen to 456 sen a kg. - BERNAMA

Ringgit likely to be steady against US$ next week

Posted: 16 May 2014 08:06 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is likely to hold steady at between 3.10 and 3.23 against the US dollar next week, said dealers.

Despite the cautious stance adopted by players amid uncertainties over the ringgit's immediate direction, dealers said the market would gradually react to the announcement of the first quarter gross domestic product announcement.
"The market will absorb the announcement by the central bank," Hong Leong Bank Fixed Income and Economic Research Senior Manager Choong Yin Pheng told Bernama. 
She added that the market is also cautious on expectations of an interest rate hike n the future. 
Malaysia's gross domestic product growth improved significantly to 6.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 from 4.2 per cent in the same period last year, anchored by domestic demand and a turnaround in net exports.

For the week just ended, the ringgit closed lower at 3.2325/2355 from 3.2275/2305 last Friday.

Against other major currencies, the ringgit was firmer against the Singapore dollar at 2.5810/5853 from 2.5849/5894, but fell against the yen to 3.1822/1858 from 3.1714/1749.

It was up against the British pound to 5.4309/4376 from last Friday's 5.4554/4612 and closed higher against the euro at 4.4340/4391 from 4.4585/4639 last Friday. - BERNAMA


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