Taiwan posted a balance of payments (BOP) surplus of US$5.09 billion in the first quarter, marking the highest level since the third quarter of 2010, on the back of expansion of the current-account surplus and lower net outflow of the financial account, the central bank said at a press conference yesterday.
The balance of payments — including current, financial and capital accounts — summarizes a net amount of money paid or received by a country during a certain period.
The BOP surplus in the January-to-March period rose 10.89 percent from US$4.59 billion recorded a year earlier, the central bank said in a report.
The current-account surplus totaled US$10.93 billion in the first quarter, up from a surplus of US$10.65 billion posted in the same period last year because of the expanding trade surplus in goods, the bank said.
“Although the first-quarter surplus in service trade declined, the increase in goods trade surplus helped secure the current-account surplus,” Lin Shu-hua (林淑華), deputy chief of the central bank’s economic research department, told a press conference.
The slower pace of contraction in exports than imports in the first quarter resulted in a goods trade surplus of US$5.89 billion, up by US$0.51 billion from the same period last year, Lin said.
Surplus in service trade ran a surplus of US$0.89 billion, a decrease of US$0.31 billion from a year ago, the report said.
However, Lin said the services account still registered the second-highest quarterly record both on the debit and credit fronts, mainly because of greater travel receipts and higher expenditure growth in professional, technical and business services.
For the financial account, it recorded a net outflow for the seventh quarter in a row, with direct and portfolio investment showing net outflows of US$1.97 billion and US$1.07 billion respectively, the report’s data showed.
However, the US$3.7 billion net outflow in the financial account posted in the first quarter slowed from the net outflow of US$3.85 billion recorded a year earlier, the bank said.
Non-residents registered a net inflow of US$1.46 billion in direct investment for the first quarter, while their portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of US$5.3 billion, mainly because of increasing foreign investment in the Taiwanese stock markets, the bank’s statistics showed.
Residents’ portfolio investment abroad exhibited a net outflow of US$6.37 billion, primarily because of more investment in overseas debt securities by insurance companies led by easing uncertainties of the eurozone’s debt crisis during the period, Lin said.