(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan stocks slumped, extending their biggest rout in more than a year, as the government tightened restrictions on people and businesses to control its worst outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Index slid as much as 3.6% in Taipei as authorities urged companies to allow staff to work from home or split locations after reporting a record 206 new local cases Sunday. The benchmark gauge tumbled 8.4% last week on concern about the impact on growth, the most since March 2020, turning Taiwan stocks into the world’s worst performers so far this month.
Forced selling may add volatility to Monday’s trading, with the level of margin debt falling by a net NT$5.8 billion ($208 million) on Friday, according to exchange data compiled by Bloomberg. That took the four-day drop in leverage to NT$39.4 billion, showing traders faced margin calls by brokers to cover losses in their stock accounts.
The sharp reversal in Taiwan stocks is a warning to highly leveraged investors around the world. The Taiex was the world’s best performing equity gauge in the three years through April, surging almost 80% in U.S. dollar terms, as a seemingly never-ending rally in tech shares pulled in retail investors.
Taiwan’s stock exchange urged investors not to overreact. The latest development in Covid fighting is relatively controllable, and the fall in stock market last week should be already priced in the situation, the bourse said in a statement issued late Sunday night, adding that stabilizing measures will be adopted if the market becomes irrational.
Watch Taiwan Consumption Related Stocks as Virus Curbs Tightened
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