Taiwan records net fund outflow for 33rd quarter

Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) More funds for investment were remitted out of Taiwan than were remitted into the country in the third quarter of this year for the 33rd 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$7.83 billion, bringing the aggregate net outflow for the 33 quarters to US$386.42 billion, data compiled by the central bank shows.

However, the net fund outflow for the July-September period was the lowest level since the second quarter of 2013, when the figure stood at US$6.66 billion, the data indicates.

During the last three-month period, net securities assets held by Taiwan residents overseas rose by US$11.57 billion from a year earlier, largely because of large investments made by life insurance companies to purchase foreign bonds, the central bank said.

Meanwhile, net direct investments made by Taiwan residents overseas were also up by US$4.46 billion in the third quarter from a year earlier, central bank data shows.

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 that 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 Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany and Russia, the central bank said.

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

In the third quarter, Taiwan's current account surplus totaled US$14.04 billion, down US$7.67 billion, or 35.3 percent, from a year earlier, the central bank said.

The decline largely reflected an increase in Taiwan's imports of machinery, in particular from the semiconductor industry, while a spike in international crude oil prices also boosted the value of the country's imports, the central bank added.

The current account surplus for the third quarter fell to a low since the third quarter of 2014, when the figure was US$13.87 billion, according to the central bank.

Taiwan's surplus in merchandise trade fell US$7.44 billion from a year earlier to US$16.3 billion in the third quarter, with exports up US$2.92 billion and imports up US$10.37 billion year-on-year in the quarter, the data shows.

The service deficit in the third quarter stood at US$2.42 billion, down US$4.7 billion, the central bank said, adding that the deficit was largely because Taiwanese residents were keen to travel overseas.

In the first nine months of this year, the current account surplus in Taiwan totaled US$50.06 billion, the central bank said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel