TAIPEI – A winning run for Taiwan’s financial markets is set to be reinforced by Saturday’s landslide election victory for President Tsai Ing-wen.
That’s the view of market watchers and analysts, with the result seen helping extend what has been a positive period of investor sentiment toward Taiwan. It is expected to provide a short-term boost to stocks in sectors that will benefit from the continuation of supportive government policies after Tsai’s re-election.
Traders have their first chance to react to the victory of Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party — which advocates for Taiwan’s formal independence — when markets open on Monday. Likely beneficiaries include stocks related to biotechnology and wind energy, which gained ahead of Saturday’s election on expectations that government support will continue. Tourism stocks may slide on concerns the result will chill cross-strait ties.
“Investors will pay attention to beneficiary stocks in the short-term,” said Shelly Lee, chairman of Mega International Investment Services Co. “With the upcoming trade deal signing and expectations of Federal Reserve easing, the bullish trend will continue for Taiwan’s markets.”
Stocks have recently touched the highest levels in nearly three decades. Taiwan’s dollar strengthened for an eighth week last week in its longest winning streak since 2013 and government-bond yields remain near all-time lows.
If recent history is any guide, Taiwan’s stocks are poised to extend gains in the coming month. The benchmark Taiex index has climbed by an average of 7.4 percent in the 30 days after the results of the past six presidential elections, as investor concern about political risk fades. This week’s planned signing of an initial trade accord between China and the U.S. is also expected to give a boost.
“Taiwan stocks tend to rise after an election, as uncertainty is removed,” said Li Fang-kuo, chairman of President Capital Management. He sees the Taiex index hitting a record high by April, helped by continued inflows and a strong outlook for Taiwan’s technology sector.
Analysts have turned the most bullish on Taiwan stocks since 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Efforts by the government to lure further capital and incentivize local firms to invest at home have helped Taiwan stay resilient in the face of the U.S.-China trade war. This has helped encourage strong foreign inflows into its technology sector, which in turn have helped boost the Taiwan dollar. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Taiwan’s largest stock, reports earnings later this week.
The local currency is seen rising to 29.5 per U.S. dollar by year-end, driven by the appeal of companies related to 5G and further repatriation of investment, according to Cliff Tan, head of global markets research for East Asia at MUFG Bank Ltd. Government bonds are expected to be boosted by limited supply under Tsai’s leadership, said Kevin Shih, a trader with Jih Sun Securities Co.
Potential headwinds at Monday’s open include reaction to Friday’s drop in U.S. stocks and concerns over cross-strait relations in the wake of the election. Profit-taking pressure may emerge nearer the Lunar New Year holidays, say analysts, while the outcome of the expected trade deal signing and recently heightened Middle East tensions will also be factors.
“But any pull-back would be a good entry point,” said President Capital Management’s Li.
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