Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Consumer confidence sinks to new low

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Plagued by rising inflation and the decline in real wages, consumers grew gloomier this month as confidence over commodity prices slumped to the lowest level in history, a survey released yesterday said.

The poll, in which the National Central University surveyed 2,049 respondents aged 20 and older, showed the consumer confidence index at 56.08 points, down 4.15 points from last month, with six sub-indices all posting declines.

The sharpest drop was reported in the purchase of durable goods for the remainder of the year, which slipped below 100 points for the first time since February 2003, the survey said, adding that the index stood at 99.15 points, down 8 points from a month ago.

An indicator between 0 and 100 is classified as pessimistic, while 100 to 200 is considered optimistic.

The consumer price reading, a tool to measure inflation risk, plunged to 19.8 points, the lowest in history, as respondents said commodity prices would keep climbing, according to the survey, which was conducted by phone between July 19 and July 23.

Respondents were also bearish about investment in the stock market, with the index shedding 7 points to stand at 57.7 points, the survey said.

The TAIEX index dropped 12.71 percent last month, with average trade volume shrinking 24.48 percent.

The survey put the reading for the economic outlook at 45 points, down 1.5 points from a month ago.

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