Tue, Jun 24, 2008 - Page 1 News List

FSC vice chair calls for faith in stock market

FIGHTING THE SLUMP Following a difficult first month since the KMT came to power, the commission said it was considering a series of stimulus measures

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Vice Chairwoman Susan Chang (張秀蓮) called on investors yesterday to have more faith in the local bourses, despite an estimated average loss of NT$440,000 per stock market investor in the month since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government came into office.

By Friday — one month after the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — the TAIEX, which serves as the stock market’s key barometer, had recorded a drop of 1,166 points from 9,068 a month earlier to 7,902 points. The stock market value slid NT$2.94 trillion (US$96.99 billion), or 12 percent, from NT$23.3 trillion to NT$20.86 trillion in the same period.

Shares peaked at 9,309 points when the market opened on May 20.

The market yesterday opened at 7,767.59 points, recording a drop of another 134.85 points. The index closed down 25.95 points yesterday, marking a slide for the 19th straight trading day since May 28.

“This slide is due largely to the weak performance of global stock markets, which have a huge impact on the Taiwanese [market] and those elsewhere in Asia,” Chang said at a legislative hearing yesterday.

She was referring mainly to the drop in US share prices, as the Dow Jones industrial average on Friday fell to a three-month low of 11,842.69 points after losing 220.4 points on worries over rising crude oil prices and the continued negative effects of the US subprime mortgage crisis.

Calling on investors to have confidence in the TAIEX, Vice Premier Chiu Cheng-hsiung (邱正雄) said on Sunday that the local stock market was suitable for long-term investment, as many foreign investors are positive about Taiwan’s economic outlook.

Echoing Chiu’s call, Chang said local investors should have more faith, as the foundations of the nation’s economy remain healthy and sound.

“The anticipated improvement in cross-strait economic ties should add a more positive factor to the prospects,” she said.

Chang said Taiwan’s economy was not suffering under the credit crunch as severely as many had believed it would, as local banks and financial holding companies did not lose as much as banks in the US and Europe.

Urging calm among investors, some of whom have been dumping their shares over the past month, Chang said they should keep the nation’s overall economic situation in perspective rather than sell or buy in reaction to rumors.

“This is not a proper way to manage stock market investments,” she said.

Asked if the commission would ask the Cabinet to intervene with measures such as opening the National Financial Stabilization Fund, Chang said the FSC and the Cabinet could evaluate such an option if necessary.

“However, right now the FSC will respect market mechanisms and stay out of the way,” she said.

Meanwhile, the commission said yesterday that a new round of relaxed financial policies to spur the economy should be announced within one week or two.

The commission did not exclude the possibility of announcing new, liberalized financial measures, including opening reciprocal stock market listings of Exchange Traded Funds between Taiwan and Hong Kong if the FSC reached agreements with other government agencies, Chang said at the legislature.

Other stimulus policies were expected to include the cancelation of a regulation that requires inbound funds intended for the stock markets not to contain funds from China, as well as the lifting of a ceiling on Taiwanese funds for investment in stock markets in China, Hong Kong and Macau, Chang said.

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