Taiwan has recorded a net outflow of funds for the 25th consecutive quarter, the longest run of net outflows in the country's history, according to the central bank.
The bank said Taiwan had a net outflow in its financial account of US$14.33 billion during the July-September period, bringing the aggregate net outflow during the past 25 quarters to more than NT$9.1 (US$285 billion) trillion, about half of the gross domestic product of the United States.
The third quarter figure, however, was lower than a net outflow of US$15.55 billion recorded in the previous three-month period, the central bank said.
The continued outflow in Taiwan's financial account, which measures the flow of direct investment and portfolio investments, fueled mounting concerns that investors will continue to move funds out of the country and into U.S. dollar denominated assets.
Investors are seeking out such assets because of expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike key interest rates in December, analysts said.
In the third quarter, the portfolio investments held overseas by Taiwan residents totaled US$24.61 billion, a new quarterly high, which the central bank attributed to moves made by Taiwanese insurers to expand their holdings of overseas stocks and bonds.
The central bank said residents' direct investments abroad and direct investments by foreign investors in Taiwan registered net increases of US$4.34 billion and US$200 million, respectively, in the third quarter.
Despite rising concerns over further net outflows, Taiwan's central bank said the trend was not unusual for export-oriented countries such as Taiwan, which has had a long-term current account surplus.
It said that a net outflow in the financial account represents an increase in a country's net international claims.
Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, Malaysia and Russia, also reported net outflows in their financial accounts, the central bank said.
The current account mainly measures a country's merchandise and service exports.
In the third quarter, Taiwan's current account recorded a surplus of US$17.09 billion, down slightly from US$17.13 billion seen in the second quarter and also down from US$18.28 billion seen over the same period of last year, the data indicated.
While demand for semiconductors appeared to be on the rise from a year earlier, the central bank said, a fragile recovery in global demand and escalating international competition led Taiwan to report a year-on-year decline of US$5.82 billion in merchandise exports in the third quarter, the central bank said.
Taiwan's services deficit in the third quarter rose US$550 million year-on-year to US$3.70 billion, largely because of a decrease in receipts in Taiwan from overseas travelers and an increase in payments for air passenger transportation.
The central bank said the number of Taiwanese tourists to foreign destinations in the third quarter rose 11.9 percent from a year earlier, and the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan fell 28.4 percent, which contributed to an increase in the service deficit.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel