The nation’s balance of payments in the first quarter posted a surplus of US$2.62 billion, as the current-account surplus offset a continued outflow from the financial account, the central bank said yesterday.
The surplus last quarter was higher than the US$2.15 billion recorded in the same period last year, but lower than the US$2.68 billion posted in the fourth quarter of last year, the central bank said.
The balance of payments, which includes the current, financial and capital accounts, summarizes the net amount of money paid or received by the nation.
The bank’s latest statistics showed the current account reported a surplus of US$15.49 billion in the first quarter, up from US$11.33 billion the previous year, as exports increased and imports decreased.
However, the financial account showed a net outflow for the 15th consecutive quarter last quarter, the longest period of outflow in the nation’s history, as domestic investors purchased more overseas assets amid the economic recovery in the US and Europe, the central bank said.
The net outflow from the financial account totaled US$12.95 billion between January and March, up from US$8.97 billion the previous year. The net outflow has persisted since the third quarter of 2010, with the cumulative net outflow reaching US$129.06 billion since that time.
Residents’ overseas portfolio investments exhibited a net outflow of US$11.46 billion last quarter, mainly attributable to greater investment abroad by local insurance companies, the central bank said.
Non-residents’ portfolio investments recorded a net inflow of US$4.88 billion, marking the highest level since the first quarter of 2012, mostly due to increased foreign investment in Taiwanese equities.
Central bank economic research department deputy chief Lin Shu-hua (林淑華) said the trend of net outflows from the financial account indicates a balancing out, as the nation’s current account continued to post a surplus last quarter.
“The balance will benefit the nation’s financial stability,” Lin told a media briefing.
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
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