TAIWAN IS URGED TO BOLSTER ITS CURRENCY

TAIWAN IS URGED TO BOLSTER ITS CURRENCY

Taiwan should actively promote an 8 percent to 10 percent rise in the value of its currency to help improve international payments balances, a private economic research group said Tuesday.

The Institute for International Economics, in a report on four Asian countries - Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong - said that Taiwan's international payments surplus, while lower than a few years ago, remains excessive.In terms of gross national product, Taiwan's $11.5 billion surplus last year was almost double that of West Germany and triple that of Japan, noted John Williamson, a senior fellow at the institute and one of the report's authors.

The report suggested that Taiwan bolster its dollar currency by ''intervening" in exchange markets and, if necessary, by raising interest rates. Taiwan should publicly state its goal of bolstering its dollar, the report said.

Taiwan, the study noted, already has announced that it will try to pare its payments surplus by about $2 billion annually over the next four years.

The report, co-authored by Bela Balassa, a Johns Hopkins University professor, found that South Korea's won is satisfactorily valued.

South Korea's payments surplus last year was $5 billion, down sharply from a record $14 billion surplus in 1988.

South Korea, the study said, "should be congratulated" on its recent economic reforms, although further steps must be taken.

The study urged no further appreciation of the won at this time, largely

because of soaring wage costs in South Korea.