Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan expected to lag in retail sales

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's retail sales during the second half of the year are forecast to grow at a much slower pace than in neighboring countries, according to a report released by MasterCard Worldwide yesterday.

Sales figures for the nation's retail businesses, excluding hospitality, catering and auto sales, are expected to edge up 1.6 percent from the same period last year to NT$1.59 trillion (US$48.4 billion), the report said.

All 12 Asia-Pacific markets included in the forecast are predicted to see positive expansion in the second half of the year, as Indonesia takes the lead with a 17.5 percent year-on-year growth, followed by the Philippines (12 percent) and China (11.8 percent).

Other markets predicted to experience healthy growth in retail sales are Singapore (8.6 percent), Malaysia (7 percent) and Hong Kong (5.6 percent).

Taiwan ranked second from the bottom, only ahead of Japan (1.2 percent), according to the report.

"Consumer spending will become even more important in the coming quarters to hold up aggregate demand in many markets in Asia, and its strength and sustainability will significantly affect overall economic growth," said Yuwa Hedrick-Wong (王月魂), a Singapore-based economic adviser to MasterCard Asia-Pacific.

The credit card giant also forecast that Taiwan's economy, gauged by GDP growth, this year will expand 4.3 percent.

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