Sat, Feb 25, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Manufacturers will see a brighter side of economy: report


Although manufacturer confidence in the economy declined last month, the industry's faith in the nation's economic performance will improve in the next three to six months, boosted by robust exports, according to a report released by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院) yesterday.

Among the manufacturers polled last month by the institute, only 14.8 percent thought the economy at the time was in good shape, down from 20.5 percent in the previous month, while 38.9 percent said the economy was bad, up from 26.7 percent from December last year.

The results made the manufacturing climate index fall 1.5 points to 102.4 last month, the fourth consecutive decline, the report said.

"The slight drop is related to the Lunar New Year holidays, which shortened the working days and therefore reduced exports," institute researcher Chen Miao (陳淼) said. "Another factor is surging oil prices."

But with the export sector largely recovered from its rock-bottom performance in the second half of last year, 40.3 percent of manufacturers were optimistic on the economic outlook for the next two quarters, up from 27.5 percent in the previous poll, while pessimists dropped slightly from 13.1 percent to 13 percent, the report said.

Exports, including goods and services, will increase by 7.6 percent this year, making the trade surplus jump 23.82 percent to US$17.1 billion, the report predicted. Export orders hit US$22.11 billion last month, a 20.01 percent increase from a year ago, the latest government statistics show.

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