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FinMin upbeat about local market

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- TAIPEIFinance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said Thursday that the local economy will improve this year and that he is optimistic about the performance of the local market, which reflects the economic fundamentals.

On the sidelines of a session of the Legislative Yuan's finance sub-committee, Chang said the government is gearing up to boost the economy at a time when the global economy continues to recover, so the local equity market is likely to move higher on the back of the positive economic leads.

In a New Year's Day address delivered a day earlier, President Ma Ying-jeou said the government aims to make a breakthrough economically in 2014 from a slower 2013, and proposed remedies including measures to stir up both public and private investment, provide funding to start-up companies, and push for urban renewal.

In late November, the government downgraded its forecast for Taiwan's 2013 economic growth to 1.74 percent from an earlier estimate of a rise of 2.31 percent. The government has predicted that the country's economy will grow 2.59 percent in 2014.

In 2013, the weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose 11.85 percent from a year earlier to 8,611.51 points, outperforming South Korea, mainland China and Hong Kong but still lagging behind Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

Local Market Remains Awash in Liquidity on Loosened Monetary Policy

Many analysts have expressed optimism toward the local market's movement as the local equity market remains awash in liquidity because the central bank has left its key interest rates unchanged for 10 quarters in a row.

Chang said that on the final trading day of last year, the combined turnover of the main board and the over-the-counter market hit NT$100 billion (US$3.33 billion), pushing up the average daily turnover in the local market to surpass NT$90 billion for December.

The minister said he expects it will not be surprising if daily turnover continues to top NT$100 billion as the local market enters the new year on the back of optimism toward the local economy.

Speaking in the finance sub-committee, Chang said he is not keen on proposing any tax cuts to improve the economy.

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