Thu, Jun 15, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Panama’s debt to Taiwan banks said US$5.3 billion

BIG BUCKS:The US was still the nation that owed the most to Taiwanese banks, followed by Luxemburg, China, Hong Kong and Japan, the central bank said

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Panamanian borrowers owed Taiwanese banks a total of US$5.3 billion at the end of the first quarter, an increase of US$100 million from the fourth quarter of last year, the central bank said.

On an ultimate risk basis, which calculates a nation’s consolidated debts after risk transfers, Taiwanese banks’ exposure to the Latin American country remained virtually unchanged at US$2.7 billion as of March, compared with US$2.686 billion at the end of December last year, the central bank said.

The figures are modest given that the nation’s total outstanding international claims amounted to US$372.3 billion last quarter, an increase of 2.34 percent from the previous quarter, the bank said.

Most of the Panamanian borrowers are shipping firms, it said, one day after the Latin American nation cut diplomatic ties.

The central bank attributed the increase in overall international claims to more active lending activity amid an improving global economy.

Ultimate exposure worldwide after risk transfers reached US$350.3 billion, a 2.6 percent advance from three months earlier, the bank said.

The US was still the No. 1 debtor nation, followed by Luxemburg, China, Hong Kong and Japan, the bank said.

Luxemburg replaced China as the second-largest debtor for the first time in one-and-half years, as Taiwan’s financial regulators seek to rein in exposure to and cut economic dependence on China.

Taiwanese banks’ exposure to China dropped 2.3 percent to US$37.1 billion last quarter, while ultimate risks amounted to US$56.9 billion, a 2.04 percent gain, the central bank said.

The US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes in March gave Taiwanese firms more incentives to park funds in the US, the bank said.

In addition, Taiwanese lenders have grown more willing to hold US treasuries in pursuit of higher-interest incomes, the bank said.

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