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TAIEX lacks momentum on back of 4th nuke plant, global crises: minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said yesterday that the local bourse's recent lackluster performance was mainly influenced by rising tensions between the two Koreas, the financial crisis in Cyprus, and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant controversy.

In support of his statement, Chang explained that a previous halt on the power plant's construction had driven the stock index down to 4,600 points.

The minister yesterday attended an interpellation session at the Legislature, in which lawmakers raised concern about the local bourse's lack of momentum.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislators Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) and Lin Te-fu (林德福) pointed out that the stock market has been performing weakly over the past two weeks despite the government's efforts.

In response, Chang said that investors were largely upbeat in January and February, driving the index above 8,000 points for several days, but that the stock index had taken a downward turn in March due to a number of global and domestic factors, including the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant controversy.

Chang stressed that the index had fallen to 4,600 points in 2000 under former President Chen Shui-bian's administration due to a halt on the power plant's construction.

TAIEX Performance, Nuke 4 Issue Unrelated: Lawmaker

Lu said that the stock market's performance is not contingent on the nuclear power plant issue, stressing that the construction halt in 2000 was a result of political tensions between the KMT and then ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

If the government is intent on drawing a relationship between the two, would that not be tantamount to threatening the public, asked Lu.

Chang said that the controversy surrounding the power plant has caused societal and political tensions, and that although the construction halt in 2000 was due to political factors, it also influenced the stock market.

Lu further asked that, given the nation's economic slump, how does the government propose to boost investor confidence.

In response, Chang said that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is monitoring economic trends closely.

When asked about rumors that the MOF has prepared a “silver bullet,” amounting to over one hundred billion New Taiwan dollars, to boost the stock index for the upcoming presidential inauguration, Chang said that he had not been aware of such a claim.

The minister further stated that he has not instructed the nation's state-owned banks to enter the stock markets, and that the institutions have made their investments according to their own judgment.

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