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Moderator:  Calla Wiemer (calla.wiemer@acaes.us)

Taiwan's Weathering of 2022 Shocks to Global Capital

US interest rate hikes in 2022 have drawn global capital away from the rest of the world to put downward pressure on currency values vis a vis the dollar. To defend their exchange rates, many Asian central banks have sold off reserves. A future post will provide an overview of the situation as data become more broadly available. For Taiwan, data already in hand reveal a surge in capital outflows. For the first half of 2022, net portfolio outflows reached $77 billion versus average full-year magnitudes hovering around $60-80 billion for most of the past decade. Even in the context of a rush of global capital out of emerging markets, the Taiwan case is extreme. Nevertheless, a modest accumulation of official reserves has continued to prevail on the balance of payments.

Chart 1: Portfolio Asset (Outbound) and Liability (Inbound) Flows

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Is It Tantrum Time Again?

   

In May 2013, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank, hinted at the possibility of the Fed reducing (“tapering”) its purchases of government bonds sooner than previously expected, leading to a reassessment of the likely path of US monetary tightening. Market turbulence and economic volatility in emerging market countries (EMs), including those in Asia, quickly followed. Capital inflows turned to outflows, leading interest rates to rise, asset prices to decline and—despite a run-down of foreign reserves—exchange rates to depreciate. This event came to be known as the Taper Tantrum.

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