Fri, Nov 24, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Growth faster than expected, DGBAS says

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Supported by strong exports, the nation's economic growth this year is likely to expand at a faster pace than expected, according to a report released by the statistics bureau yesterday.

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) revised upward its growth forecast for the year to 4.39 percent, from the 4.28 percent it predicted in August, the report said.

Gross national product is estimated to hit US$364.8 billion, or US$16,051 per capita, up from US$15,690 per capita last year.

On the back of robust exports, GDP growth in the last quarter was 5.02 percent, higher than the bureau's previous prediction of 4.39 percent, the report said. The DGBAS believes that growth in the current quarter will also be higher than originally predicted, but lower than last quarter. The 3.15 percent estimate has been raised to 3.31 percent.

Export of goods in the last quarter increased 18.6 percent from a year ago to US$55.99 billion, which also pushed the manufacturing sector to grow 8.2 percent, the DGBAS said.

The export growth momentum is expected to sustain. Export orders grew 10.88 percent year-on-year to a record high of US$27.29 billion last month, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday.

In the same period, private consumption, affected by the bad debt hangover grew only 0.4 percent, the lowest since the third quarter in 2003, the DGBAS report revealed. Private investment rose 5.6 percent in the third quarter from the same period last year, the report said.

The consumer price index (CPI) last quarter fell by 0.3 percent, slashing the annual growth rate of CPI from the 1.8 percent estimated in August to a mild 0.7 percent, the DGBAS report said.

The wholesale price index, however, is expected to rise 5.9 percent from last year.

For next year, affected by the softening world economy, Taiwan's economic growth will expand at a slower pace, DGBAS said. Exports and imports of goods and services are estimated to climb 5.4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, with a trade surplus of US$19.7 billion, it said.

The bureau revised down the GDP forecast for next year from 4.14 percent to 4.13 percent.

As the consumer bad credit problem gradually eases, however, private consumption is expected to grow 3.0 percent from this year, it said. Private investment, affected by industry migration and the completion of major construction projects, will rise merely 1.6 percent, according to the report.

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