Taipei--Taiwan's foreign exchange reserves climbed to a record high at the end of May mainly on aggressive stock market buying by foreign institutional investors, according to the central bank.
Increased returns from the central bank's management of the forex reserves and an appreciation of the currencies in the bank's portfolio, in particular the euro, also boosted the May figure, the bank said.
As of the end of May, the country's forex reserves were at the highest ever at US$440.25 billion, up US$1.83 billion from the end of April, according to the central bank's data.
Following aggressive buying in the local bourse in May, foreign institutional investors held US$364.3 billion worth of local equities, bonds and Taiwan dollar-denominated savings at the end of month, up US$10.7 billion from a month earlier, the central bank said.
The US$364.3 billion, also a new high, was a record 83 percent of Taiwan's total forex reserves, 2 percentage points higher than at the end of April, the central bank said.
Harry Yen (???), head of the local central bank's foreign exchange department, said that foreign investors have been playing a more important role in Taiwan's capital market.
According to statistics from Bloomberg, foreign institutional investors bought a net US$1.79 billion worth of local shares in May, while shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose about 1.7 percent, pushing the weighted index above 10,000 points for the first time in 17 years.
Data from the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) showed that foreign institutional investors accounted for a net fund inflow of US$2.17 billion into Taiwan in May.
In the first five months of the year, the net foreign fund inflow was US$12.72 billion, the FSC data showed.
Yen said that the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the currencies of the United States' six major trading partners against the greenback, fell 2.08 percent in May, with the euro appreciating about 2.75 percent.
As a result, the value of the assets denominated by the stronger euro in Taiwan's forex reserves increased after being converted into U.S. dollars, which helped boost the reserves in May, Yen said.
The central bank's investments were also a factor, he said, but did not give any details.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel