August 25, 2017 / 8:25 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Fubon life insurance unit posts $595 mln in forex losses in H1

* Says forex losses in H1 rise to $595 million

* Forex losses due to 7 pct gain in Taiwan dollar in H1 (Recasts lead. Adds details, comments in 3rd paragraph)

TAIPEI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Fubon Financial Holding said on Friday that hedging costs and forex losses increased at its life insurance unit, Taiwan’s No. 2 life insurer, but that the losses will narrow for the rest of the year.

The insurance unit’s forex losses were T$18 billion ($595 million) in the six months to June, while Fubon Financial’s net profit was T$18.7 billion during the same period.

“The exchange rate of the Taiwan dollar against the U.S. dollar has stabilized substantially in Q2 versus Q1. We think this trend will continue in the second half of the year,” said Eddie Chen, Fubon’s chief financial officer.

Fubon and its local rivals took a hit as their overseas investments were hurt by the stronger Taiwan dollar, which rose nearly 7 percent this year against the U.S. dollar, with most of the gain occurring in the first quarter.

The Taiwan currency has been one of Asia’s best performers, as the central bank has refrained from weakening the currency through market intervention as a precaution against being labeled a currency manipulator by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Fubon is confident their forex positions will improve going forward, said Chen.

S&P Global Ratings said earlier this week that the hedging risk facing Taiwan’s life insurance sector is “manageable” and is not affecting credit ratings.

Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Stephen Coates and Christian Schmollinger

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