Central Bank discloses first quarter balance of payments

By Alfred Lee, The China Post

Taiwan registered a current account surplus of US$3,942 million for the first quarter of 2001, up from the US$1,422 million a year earlier, according to the Central Bank of China in a report on the nation’s balance of International payments.

The figure was the second highest current account surplus since the fourth quarter of 1996.

The widening surplus was due to a decrease in imports as well as a decline in the services deficit.

The CBC statistics of current account show that exports suffered a 3.7 percent decrease during the first quarter, with declining exports to the U.S., Hong Kong, Europe, and Southeast Asian countries. Whereas. exports to Japan and Singapore grew.

Imports declined by 9.7 percent in the first quarter. The decline of imports from Japan and Europe exceeded 10 percent.

The services deficit narrowed partly as a result of a reduction in travel expenditure.

The capital account for the first quarter recorded a net inflow of US$2,122 million, reversing the continued outflow trend over the past three quarters. Direct investments abroad by Taiwan residents recorded a net outflow of US$1,933 million (up from US$1,597 million last year), the highest level since the third quarter of 1990. Foreign direct investments in Taiwan registered a net inflow of US$1,528 million (up from US$1,146 million last year), the highest quarterly figure ever recorded.

Portfolio investment abroad by residents registered a net outflow of US$2,643 million (a decrease from last year’s US$4,179 million), most of which was investment in foreign equity markets.

Local portfolio investment by nonresidents exhibited a net inflow of US$3,579 million (a decrease from last year’s US$6,610 million).