Fri, Feb 27, 2009 - Page 12 News List

TIER’s business climate confidence index rises slightly

JANUARY BUMP-UP The research institute said the rise could have been a seasonal adjustment and sentiment might decline again in the long term

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Manufacturers and service providers’ confidence in their business outlook rebounded last month, buoyed by improved trade volume over the Lunar New Year holiday and the government’s consumer vouchers, a local think tank said yesterday.

But the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院), which surveys different sectors monthly on the business climate, said the rise in optimism could have been simply seasonal and might reverse.

The climate indicator for manufacturing sectors rose last month for the first time in five months, gaining 4.59 points to 80.31 points, compared with 75.72 points in December, Chen Miao (陳淼), director of TIER’s macroeconomic forecasting center, told a news conference.

The number of manufacturers upbeat about the business climate increased 4.6 percent from December, while their pessimistic counterparts declined 21.7 percent, the TIER report said.

“Despite economic woes at home and abroad, some respondents voiced confidence that the government’s stimulus package could reverse the trend in the coming months,” Chen said.

The number of manufacturers optimistic about their business prospects for the next six months grew 27.3 percent from 11.6 percent in December, the report said.

Meanwhile, those with a neutral sentiment dipped from 40.9 percent to 36.7 percent, while the more pessimistic dropped from 47.4 percent to 36.1 percent, the survey said.

TIER vice president Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) warned the poll’s results should not seen as signs of a recovery.

“The holiday rendered the poll difficult to interpret,” Kung said. “It would be better to observe the sentiment longer to reach a conclusion.”

The climate index for the service sector also launched a modest rally of 4.33 points to 90.68 points last month, the report said.

Chen said the consumer vouchers issued on Jan. 18 helped boost sales for retailers, transportation operators and other services.

It remained to be seen if the momentum would last as the downturn deepened, he said.

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