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May 30, 2017

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Merrill Lynch sees limited impact on tech, finance from riots

TAIPEI--Last week's anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam that largely targeted Taiwanese firms may not have a major impact on the local technology and financial industries, according to research from Bank of America (BOA) Merrill Lynch.

Though it is not clear how long the unrest, which turned violent May 13 amid tensions over the disputed South China Sea, will prevail, the Vietnamese government may not allow the protests to continue for too long in order to prevent a retreat of foreign investors, said Katherine Hu, a Taipei-based equity strategist at Merrill Lynch.

"Further, our consumer analyst does not expect the event to trigger a wage hike in Vietnam," she wrote in a note to clients dated May 14.

As for Taiwanese technology firms, contract electronics manufacturers Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海精密) and Compal Electronics Inc. (仁寶電腦) have not yet implemented plans to expand their operations in the Southeast Asian country.

Taiwan-based banks, meanwhile, have an estimated total credit exposure in Vietnam of about NT$79 billion (US$2.62 billion), representing only 0.37 percent of Taiwan's banking industry loans.

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