Sun, Aug 07, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Ma steps in to calm investors’ nerves

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday urged investors not to panic over the stock market’s performance.

Photo: Taipei Times

As the government tried to calm fears over the nosediving stock market, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said the Executive Yuan would pay close attention to the impact of changes in economic conditions and urged investors not to panic over the stock market’s performance.

In an impromptu press conference at the Presidential Office, Ma said as a trade-oriented economic entity, Taiwan’s economy is closely connected to the global economy, and the week’s international crisis inevitably affected the performance of local stocks.

“We should have better control over [our stock market being affected by] changes in the global economy. The government should never take the issue lightly. We will try our best to minimize the impact,” he said.

Ma’s comments came after the TAIEX tumbled 5.58 percent to close at 7,853.13 on Friday, as nervous investors dumped shares for cash amid mounting fears of another global recession.

Fears over the impact of Europe’s escalating debt crisis and the US’ jobs report pushed the index to its worst single-day performance since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Ma said he had called Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Friday and instructed the Executive Yuan to take proper actions when necessary.

“Investors should not panic over the situation ... I hope the government and opposition parties can come together and work to address the crisis,” he said.

Wu had said on Friday that the government would activate the National Stabilization Fund to maintain stability in the market “at the most appropriate time” and “in the most appropriate manner.”

The fund will enter the market to prop up share prices when the fund’s management committee thinks it is necessary, he said.

At a separate setting yesterday, Wu also tried to boost public confidence in the economy by saying that in September the country would become one of the few nations in the world totally free of external debt.

After Taiwan makes the last payment on the sum of money borrowed for the construction of the Jhongsha Bridge, the section of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Highway No. 1) that connects Sijhou Township (溪州) in Changhua County with Siluo Township (西螺) in Yunlin County, Taiwan will have paid off its offshore debts, Wu said.

Although forecasts showed that Taiwan will not enjoy year-on-year double-digit economic growth this year as it did last year, the economy continues to recover with a growth rate of 5 percent, Wu said.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the world stock markets’ tumble during the week, Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said it was a warning to Taiwan and called on the government to immediately come up with middle and long-term plans to deal with the situation as the potential global recession could impact Taiwan’s export markets.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan and Rich Chang

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