Fleeing Taiwan

June 8, 2007 at 9:59 am | Posted in China, 經濟, 经济, Economics, News, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 4 Comments

June 8 2007 WSJ Review and Outlook

If you want to know which way Taiwan’s economy is headed, consider this: At a time when most Asian countries are trying to slow the flow of capital into their countries, Taipei is trying to stop it flowing out. Talk about a cure that’s worse than the disease.

New controls limit new mutual funds to NT$10 billion ($302 million) in offshore investing. The measure isn’t quite a formal rule — it’s a “guideline” hammered out in late May by the central bank and the Securities Investment Trust and Consulting Association, a mutual fund trade group. While the deal doesn’t appear to be legally binding, the bank reportedly will use moral suasion to enforce it, in part by slowing down new mutual fund applications for funds that plan to violate the cap.

The Central Bank of China (Taiwan) has been growing increasingly worried about the weakening of the Taiwan dollar, which has been on a downward trajectory for the better part of the past year. Other adventures in currency manipulation have included a recent bout of unanticipated open-market operations designed to spike exchange and interest rates as a way to “punish” those with the temerity to sell short the Taiwan dollar.

Now, at least, the central bank is inching closer to the true reason for the Taiwan dollar’s softness — investment outflows. Net outflows hit nearly $11 billion for the first quarter of this year. Taiwan’s net investment flows haven’t been in the black since the second quarter of 2005. Even in a region awash with liquidity and in the midst of a global bull market, investors just don’t want to put their money in Taiwan.

Structural factors are to blame. One culprit, ironically enough, is the restriction on corporate investment in the mainland. Taiwanese companies are allowed to invest only an average of 40% of their value (the limit varies by industry) there. But because such investment is so lucrative, Taiwanese companies and entrepreneurs are increasingly opting to work around the law. They can do this by setting up shop in less restrictive countries, leaving Taiwanese investors with fewer companies at home in which to put their money.

On a related note, Taiwanese economic policy hasn’t kept up with the times. There is still a strong regulatory and policy bias in favor of manufacturing over services, despite the fact that Taiwan is at the stage of development where it should be expanding its service sector. Spaghetti-like corporate structures and endemic insider trading also discourage investors from diving too deeply into Taiwanese equities. Bad policies and their outcomes — from a chaotic banking sector to hurdles for companies that want to on-shore research and development while offshoring manufacturing — leave many Taiwanese companies and their stocks underperforming.

To top it all off, there’s political gridlock when it comes to addressing many of these problems. Fighting between the two main political parties has kept the focus off improving the economic climate. It’s hard to think of any major economic policy overhaul in the past seven years.

In imposing limits on offshore investment, the central bank is asking Taiwanese investors to take one for the team by keeping more of their money at home despite the poor returns. But the bank is missing the point. The weak exchange rate is a symptom — not the disease — and capital controls will only make it worse.

June 8 2007 鉅亨網

如果你想要了解台灣經濟的走向,以下所述可以當 作參考:亞洲多數國家都在防堵外資流入,台灣卻反而 在阻止資金外流,要用這種方式來治療經濟惡化,乾脆 讓它生病算了。

台灣最新規定,新成立的基金投資海外的額度不得 超過新台幣 100億元,這種手段並不尋常。這項規定是 由台灣央行和共同基金交易團體-金管局在 5月底所訂 立。雖然此說似乎於法無據,央行據說將使用道德勸說 的方式予以貫徹。另外,對於有意違反這項規定的共同 基金,央行將放緩它們的申請進度。

《華爾街日報》指出,台灣央行越來越擔心新台幣 走貶,該貨幣去年多數時間處在貶值的狀態。央行干預 新台幣的冒險做法,包括近期造成市場騷動,無預警的 進行公開市場操作,目的在推高新台幣匯率以及利率, 藉此對魯莽放空新台幣的人士作出懲處。

台灣央行現在至少向新台幣走貶的真正理由-資金 外流,又邁進了一大步。今年第 1季淨流出台灣的資金 將近新台幣110億元。自2005年第2季以來,投資台灣的 資金淨額便未曾出現盈餘。即便亞洲地區資金氾濫,全 球多頭氣氛濃厚,投資人就是不願把他們的錢放在台灣 。

結構性因素是為主因。很諷刺的,罪魁禍首正是台 灣政府對於企業投資中國的限制。政府規定台灣企業投 資中國的資金不能超過它們資產淨值的 40%。不過由於 投資中國有利可圖,企業於是游走法律邊緣。他們在限 制較寬鬆的國家成立一間公司,迂迴進軍中國,這使得 台灣投資人可以投資的企業越變越少。

和上述做法雷同的,是台灣經濟政策沒能與時俱進 。台灣的法令和政策過度偏向製造業,忽視了服務業的 發展。事實上,台灣的發展已經到了一個階段,必須擴 大服務業的發展。通心麵似的企業結構,以及近來頗為 流行的內線交易,導致投資人不敢過度涉入台灣股市。 政策不良加上它的後遺症-從紛亂的銀行業,到企業希 望在台灣研發,在中國製造的做法受到阻礙,讓釵h台 灣企業及其股票表現不甚理想。

除此之外,由於台灣兩黨政治陷入僵局,導致釵h 問題延宕無解。兩個主要政黨的惡鬥,造成改善經濟環 境的問題遭到移轉。實在想不出,台灣過去 7年來,曾 經作出什麼比較重大的經濟決策。

為了加強對境外投資的規範,台灣央行希望台灣投 資人能夠顧全大局,儘可能把資金留在國內,儘管國內 的投資報酬遜色了一些。不過央行真的搞不清楚狀況, 新台幣匯率的疲弱不振,正是一個徵兆,不是一個疾病 ,控制資金只會讓病況變得更糟。

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4 Comments »

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  1. I am surprised Taiwan Province is restricting trade for the wrong reasons.

  2. One must wonder how Americans on one hand
    tell others there is “a” way to deal with
    outgoing investments and on the other hand
    whine and gringe over both the loss of jobs
    there and that they (US) need other’s money
    to maintain their lifestyle.

  3. taiwan is a democratic and sovereign country that has been a huge economic and political success and a model to the world’s developing nations. taiwanese are smart and know how to run their country. they have a long track record. enough said.

  4. “taiwan is a democratic and sovereign country that has been a huge economic and political success and a model to the world’s developing nations. taiwanese are smart and know how to run their country. they have a long track record. enough said.”
    Yo! Taiwan is nor a country, you bitch!


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