The nation’s balance of payments last quarter registered a current account surplus of US$27.22 billion, widening from US$22.24 billion three months earlier, as imports fell faster than exports, although both declined, the central bank said yesterday.
The current account surplus grew US$5.17 billion during the June-to-September period, when trade surpluses reached a new high of US$30.11 billion, central bank research official Tsao Ti-jen (曹體仁) told an online news conference.
The showings had little to do with strong exports, which remained in negative territory, as did imports, Tsao said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Rather, imports tumbled faster than exports amid sharp price corrections in oil and raw material prices, giving Taiwan trade surpluses. Poor imports also had to do with local firms’ conservative approach to inventory management, he said.
At the same time, the services account booked a deficit of US$4.4 billion, accelerating from US$3.29 billion a year earlier, as demand for local cargo shipping services shrank further, while outbound travel expenditures inflated, Tsao said.
Travel expenditures amounted to US$5.13 billion, while travel income stood at US$2.46 billion, driving travel deficits to a peak of US$2.67 billion, he said.
Outbound tourist visits appeared to have reclaimed pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, but foreign tourist arrivals left room for improvement, Tsao said, adding that the gap would taper off as the world emerges further from COVID-19 disruptions.
Taiwanese hotels have said that visitors from Japan have evidently disappointed thus far, due mainly to a weak Japanese yen.
Foreign investment cooled to US$180 million, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2019, as global investors practiced caution amid lingering restrictive interest rates and economic uncertainty, Tsao said.
Outbound investment posted another record of US$6.09 billion, as local financial institutes and retail investors raised stakes in US bonds and other US dollar-based investment tools that generate higher yields, he said.
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