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Taiwan records net fund outflow for 31st straight quarter

2018/05/22 15:26:57

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) More funds for investment were remitted out of Taiwan than were remitted into the country in the first quarter for the 31st consecutive quarter, the longest run in the country's history, according to Taiwan's central bank.

The net fund outflow in Taiwan's financial account, which measures the flow of direct investment and portfolio investments, was US$16.42 billion, bringing the aggregate net outflow for the 31 quarters to US$367.78 billion.

The central bank said the streak reflected the continuing trend among investors in Taiwan, in particular major life insurers, to put their money into foreign markets.

During the January-March period, net securities assets held by Taiwan residents overseas rose by US$28.91 billion from a year earlier because of large investments by life insurance companies, the central bank said.

Meanwhile, net direct investments made by Taiwan residents overseas were also up by US$3.8 billion in the quarter from a year earlier, central bank data showed.

The continued outflow in Taiwan's financial account fueled mounting concerns that investors will keep moving funds out of the country and into U.S. dollar denominated assets.

The central bank dismissed the concerns, however, saying Taiwan is one of the few countries in the world to record a long-term current account surplus, and countries with such surpluses tend to register net financial account outflows.

Other countries following a similar pattern include China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Malaysia and Russia, the central bank said.

The current account mainly measures a country's merchandise and service exports and imports.

In the first quarter, Taiwan's current account surplus totaled US$20.08 billion, up US$1.9 billion, or 10.4 percent, from a year earlier due mainly to strong growth in exports on strong global demand, central bank data showed.

Taiwan's surplus in merchandise trade rose US$660 million to US$17.35 billion in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Merchandise exports were up US$5.89 billion in the quarter, boosted by higher demand for electronics devices that was fueled by new tech applications, the central bank said.

Merchandise imports also rose by US$5.23 billion from a quarter earlier because of growing manufacturing capacities and higher global raw material prices, the central bank said.

The service deficit in the first quarter fell US$480 million from a quarter earlier to US$1.5 billion in the January-March period in the wake of a rise in tourism income, according to the central bank.

(By Chiu Po-sheng and Frances Huang)