Mon, Jun 28, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Top planner says strong economic growth to continue

FUNDAMENTALS SOLID Banking statistics, industrial output, export orders and other indicators say that 2004 will be a very good year

CNA

The economy will continue to grow in the year's second half, a top economic planner predicted yesterday.

Hu Chung-ying (胡仲英), research director of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), said that the nation's fundamentals remain sound, based on industrial output, manufacturers' export orders and the financial sector's performance earlier this year.

Export orders received by Taiwan's manufacturers totalled US$81.5 billion in the first five months, an increase of 25.61 percent over the previous year's level, Hu said. Industrial production jumped by 14.44 percent in the January-May period year-on-year.

Hu said banks lowered their overdue loan ratios and increased their profits and deposits.

Hu cited central bank findings that domestic banks posted an average overdue loan ratio of 4.4 percent for the first quarter, while bank deposits grew by 9.72 percent and loans released increased by 8.22 percent year-on-year.

Given that the global economy has been recovering, Hu predicted that foreign trade will enjoy double-digit growth this year, with exports and imports growing by 13.2 percent and 15.3 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, he estimated that private consumption will increase by 3 percent and that government expenditures will grow by 0.5 percent this year.

Hu also quoted the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics' forecast that the nation's economy will grow by 5.41 percent this year with GNP of US$318.4 billion and per capita income of US$14,106.

He said the same source also estimated that domestic demand will increase by 5.5 percent and the consumer price index will grow by 0.83 percent this year.

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