The South China Morning Post, writing from an alternate reality, observes:

In an economic climate haunted by the US recession, soaring oil prices and soaring inflation, Taiwan seems to be sticking out in the crowd. As stock markets dip round the world, Taiwan’s Taiex index appears to have an exceptional power to defy gravity. Since his landslide victory in the March election, Ma Ying-jeou seems to have pulled Taiwan out of its nine-year economic stagnation….

Maddog alerted me to this piece of either supreme incompetence or witting propaganda — take your pick — and passed me a link to the TSEC Weighted Index. Above is the picture for the last three months. Note the anomalous peak on May 19-20, the day Ma was sworn in. Since then, except for the minor recovery a couple of days ago, it’s been nothing but downhill — lower than under the last few months of Chen Shui-bian, continuing a trend that began a couple of months ago.

Nine-year stagnation? We are now in our 28th straight month of expanding exports, and growth last year ran at 5.7%. UPDATE: First quarter of this year, growth was 6.06%. The investment firm UBS notes of this year:

UBS, the world’s largest manager of private wealth assets, said yesterday the economy would reap benefits from the arrival of Chinese tourists starting on July 18, but it might not be the economic godsend many have hoped for.

“Even if 10,000 Chinese were allowed to visit a day and spent NT$15,000 each during their stay, it would only raise the nation’s GDP by 0.5 percent,” said Kevin Hsiao (蕭正義), a chartered financial analyst at USB Wealth Management Research Taiwan. “But the public sentiment here is that they will bring in a huge fortune and fix the economy.”

Under the agreement between Taiwan and China, 3,000 tourists will be allowed per day.

Hsiao was optimistic about the economy, however, and raised his forecast for economic growth from 4.1 percent to 4.5 percent for this year, citing the the nation’s better-than-expected performance in the first five months.

In other words, Ma has rescued our economy by lowering year on year growth from 5.7% to 4.5%, and making the stock market fall. But why let reality intrude on cheerleading?

Once again, the nation’s problem isn’t economic performance, but economic inequality. That is a growing structural feature of our economy that the KMT is unlikely to address.

On a personal note, we went out this week and bought bikes for ourselves. Interestingly, we visited several shops and they all said the same thing. Thanks to rising gas prices and rising recreational use, demand for bikes is high, and they are having trouble maintaining inventory levels.