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Taiwan allows Cargill to repatriate $2 billion frozen in currency speculation case: sources

FILE PHOTO: A Cargill logo is pictured on the Provimi Kliba and Protector animal nutrition factory in Lucens, Switzerland, September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s central bank has allowed U.S.-based commodities house Cargill Ltd to repatriate around $2 billion that had been frozen as part of an investigation into currency manipulation, four people with direct knowledge told Reuters.

The central bank last month punished four foreign banks, including Deutsche Bank for helping grains firms speculate in the deliverable forwards foreign exchange market, as it moved to slow the Taiwan dollar’s rise.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorised to speak to journalists, sources told Reuters that Cargill was one of the main grains companies involved. The central bank has not named Cargill in its communications on the matter.

The central bank declined to comment. Cargill did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

The deal to get roughly $2 billion of funds due to Cargill and one of its fully-owned subsidiaries out of Taiwan came after eight months of negotiations with the central bank, sources said.

The Taiwan dollar is at its highest in more than 23 years against the U.S. dollar as the island’s trade-dependent economy booms on global demand for its tech products, fuelled by people working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Taiwan’s central bank has been particularly concerned about grain companies engaging in currency speculation through deliverable forwards.

The central bank has previously said that starting from July 2019, eight grains trading companies ostensibly carrying out routine currency transactions for their business had in fact engaged in currency speculation, and as a result affected the stability of Taiwan’s foreign exchange market.

It put the total value of the trades at $11 billion.

Reporting by Liang-sa Loh; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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