Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Monday, 24 March 2008

Taiwan markets rally after poll

Investors at a Taiwan brokerage
Stocks rose on hopes of better ties with China

Taiwan's stock market has rallied and its currency hit its strongest level in a decade after an opposition win in the island's presidential election.

Investors hope that the victory of the Kuomintang party's Ma Ying-jeou, who favours closer ties with China, will ease political tension with Beijing.

Taiwan's main stock index rose 4% and the Taiwan dollar hit a 10-year high against its US counterpart.

Gainers included airlines, which stand to benefit from better ties with China.

Comfortable victory

Mr Ma won a comfortable victory over Frank Hsieh of the governing Democratic Progressive Party on Saturday.

Official results gave Mr Ma 58% of the vote - an advantage of nearly 17 percentage points over Mr Hsieh.

"It's been very lively on the trading floor, as investors called in to buy into traditional and financial stocks," said Winston Tung, a branch manager at Fubon Financial's brokerage department.

"Last week, people were still afraid to buy in case something bad happened during the election, but since everything went smoothly, funds are flowing back quickly into the market."

The TAIEX share index rose 340.36 points to 8,865.35 points, while the Taiwan dollar hit a high of T$30.201 against the US dollar.

Shanghai slides

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai's main stock index fell 4.5% on fears that an oversupply of shares could overwhelm investor demand.

Many big Chinese firms are planning to issue new shares and a large amount of previously non-tradable shares have recently become eligible to be freely traded following market reforms.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index ended the day virtually unchanged. It was down 0.02% at 12,480 points.

Analysts said trade was subdued, with investors waiting for US markets to resume trading later in the day.

Many European markets remain closed for the Easter holiday.

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