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Taiwan: Stocks flat after regional peers wilt on China tightening

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[TAIPEI] Taiwan stocks were mostly flat on Friday after early gains were eroded when regional and China markets fell after Beijing unexpectedly hiked short-term rates.

China's central bank surprised financial markets by raising short-term interest rates on the first day back from a long holiday, in a further sign that it is slowly moving to a tighter policy bias as the economy shows signs of steadying.

As of 0313 GMT, the main Taiex index was largely unchanged at 9,433.04, after closing down 0.2 per cent in the previous session.

The index has been trying to regain the key 9,500 level, around a year-and-a-half intraday high that it briefly traded above on Thursday, before profit-taking erased gains.

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The electronics subindex fell 0.1 per cent, while the financials subindex was unchanged.

The local dollar continued to strengthen, breaching below the key NT$31.00 level to touch near 19-month intra-session highs against the US dollar.

In late morning trade, the Taiwan dollar firmed NT$0.076 to NT$31.025 per US dollar.

Its strongest level so far against the US dollar on Friday at NT$30.950 puts its gains at levels not seen since early July 2015.