Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Page 12 News List

More than 90% of poll respondents feel economic chill

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The economic downturn and market instability have increased financial pressure on an overwhelming majority of people and many have cut back on investments and spending to cope, a survey by Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) found.

In the survey, released yesterday, more than 90 percent of respondents said they were feeling the pinch of the financial crisis, with 16.1 percent describing the pressure as “heavy” and another 48.4 percent as “sizable.” The remaining 26.6 described the added pressure as “minor.”

TIGHTENED BELTS

To deal with financial difficulties, 51.4 percent of respondents said they had cut back on spending, 12.5 percent had sought extra employment and 40 percent had adopted conservative investment strategies, said Spencer Kao (高國興), vice president of the bank’s personal loan department.

Kao said 2.7 percent had started their own business.

Though the government has introduced a series of economic stimulus programs, 26.9 percent of respondents believed the downturn would persist until after next year and 20.7 percent expected the economy to recover in the second half of this year.

Only 11.4 percent voiced optimism that the economy would pick up in the first half of the year as predicted by the government, Kao said.

NOT INVESTING

About 54 percent of respondents said they had set aside less money for investment amid the drab climate, while 7.3 percent had increased investment, the survey said.

Thirty-eight percent reported that their investment plans remained unchanged.

Just over 46 percent of respondents said they expected investment gains of less than 5 percent for this year, while 32.7 percent hoped for 10 percent.

The survey found that low-risk investments that guarantee one’s principal if the promised returns are not met topped investors’ lists, followed by investment options that promise flexibility. Options that promise stable yields ranked third.

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