Taiwan ranked as 5th largest lender worldwide

Taiwan's Central Bank (left).

Taiwan's Central Bank (left). (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) - Taiwan remained the world's fifth largest lender in 2017 as its net international investment position rose more than 6 percent from a year earlier, according to the country's central bank.

The total assets held by Taiwan totaled US$1.983 trillion in 2017, up US$193.4 billion, or 10.8 percent, from a year earlier mainly due to an increase "in overseas securities investment by residents and rising foreign equity prices," according to central bank data.

The total liabilities shouldered by Taiwan rose US$119.3 billion, or 17.5 percent, from a year earlier to US$801.8 billion in 2017.

The figures translated into a net international investment position of US$1.18 trillion in 2017, up US$74.09 billion or 6.7 percent from a year earlier.

It was the highest net international investment position in Taiwan's history and the fifth highest in the world in 2017, the central bank said.

Portfolio investments from Taiwan rose 24 percent from a year earlier to US$789.1 billion in 2017, while direct investments from Taiwan also rose 4.2 percent to US$321.7 billion, the central bank's data showed.

At the same time, however, after Taiwan's benchmark stock index closed above the 10,000 point mark for the first time in 17 years in May 2017, foreign investors rushed into the market, boosting their portfolio investments in Taiwan and increasing the country's total liabilities for the year.

Portfolio investments by foreign investors in Taiwan rose 29.8 percent from a year earlier to US$420.9 billion in 2017, while direct investments from overseas grew 13.1 percent to US$93.9 billion, the data showed.

Tsai Chiung-ming, deputy director of the central bank's economic research department, said a country with a high net international position will receive better credit ratings, making it easier for its enterprises to secure loans overseas.

Japan was the largest lender in the world in 2017, followed by Germany, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the central bank said.

Norway ranked sixth, followed by Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, the central bank said. (By Chiu Po-sheng and Frances Huang)