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Expert urges government to devalue local currency

TAIPEI -- Taiwan should try to “moderately” devalue its currency to boost its slumping exports and its export-oriented economy, a local economist said Monday.

Taiwan's exports in the January-July period declined 5.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, to US$171.6 billion, and the depreciation of the Taiwan dollar could help reverse that trend, said National Central University economics professor Hsu Chih-chiang at a press briefing.

Taiwan's economy continued to be affected by the sluggish global economy in July, with the government's composite index of monitoring indicators flashing a blue light — signaling an economic slump — for the ninth consecutive month, Hsu said.

If the streak continues for a 10th month in August, it will be longer than the string of blue lights flashed during the global financial crisis in late 2008 and 2009, he said.

Hsu , however, would not offer a target exchange rate for the currency, saying only that it could “depreciate moderately” without fluctuating dramatically.

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