Taiwan makes little headway privatizing banking sector

Industry specialists pour cold water on the government''s ambitious timetable for the privatization of the banking sector and banks own plans to improve capital efficiency through the GDR market.

In recent months, the Taiwanese press has been full of reports concerning the government's plan to speed reform of the financial sector and meet a NT$291 billion $8 billion budget deficit by privatizing a number of state-owned banks. Privatization is one of the key planks of the government's overhaul of a financial sector, which has long been teetering under the weight of a staggering 52 banks, 300 credit co-operatives and about NT$1.03 trillion $30 billion in NPLs.

According to analysts' estimates, the Taiwanese government currently controls roughly 58% of the domestic banking sector, with stakes in 12 major banks see table 1. By 2006, it has said it would...

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