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Central bank adds yen, euro to foreign currency platform

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The central bank announced on Thursday that the yen and euro have been added to Taiwan's foreign currency platform, saying the service will be available in designated foreign exchange banks starting from the third quarter.

The move aims to facilitate foreign currency clearing services of banks operating in Taiwan.

The central bank stated that the upcoming clearing service will save the Taiwanese public the service fee charged by intermediary banks overseas, while calling on local banks to lower service fees for yen and euro transfers to benefit the public.

Based on the experience of the U.S. dollar clearance, the service fee has been reduced to between NT$320 and NT$1,240, down from between NT$720 and NT$1,580 before the platform was built, the bank said.

The bank told the United Evening News that it has started accepting applications filed by designated foreign currency banks, but it hasn't appointed any settlement bank for yen and euro clearing services so far.

A central bank official noted that the bank will soon begin selecting clearing banks for euro- and yen-to-U.S. dollar transactions and make a final decision in June.

Surplus of Balance of Payments Recorded US$2.68 billion in Q4

The central bank yesterday also gave the latest information on Taiwan's balance of payments. For the fourth quarter of 2013, the overall balance of payments recorded a surplus of US$2.68 billion, reflecting an increase in the bank's reserve assets.

The current account posted a surplus of US$17.14 billion and the financial account showed a net outflow of US$13.88 billion.

In the current account, export growth expanded by 1.7 percent year-on-year, boosted by increased exports to mainland China, Hong Kong, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economies. Imports grew by 1.6 percent year-on-year as imports of capital equipment and consumer products rose.

With a larger increase in exports than in imports, the goods trade surplus widened by US$280 million to US$11.08 billion, compared to the same period of the previous year.

Overall, the current account surplus in the fourth quarter of 2013 rose by US$1.09 billion, or 6.8 percent, on a yearly basis, as record-high quarterly surpluses on both goods trade balance and services account offset the decrease in the income surplus as well as a narrower current transfer deficit.

In the financial account, direct and portfolio investment registered net outflows of US$2.43 billion and US$5.94 billion, respectively.

For the year of 2013 as a whole, the current account registered a surplus of US$57.38 billion, the financial account exhibited a net outflow of US$41.16 billion, and the overall balance recorded a surplus of US$11.32 billion, reflecting an increase in the bank's reserve assets.

In the financial account, direct and portfolio investment registered net outflows of US$2.43 billion and US$5.94 billion, respectively. Residents' portfolio investment abroad exhibited a net outflow of US$9.77 billion, mainly attributable to the investment in foreign debt securities by insurance companies.

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