Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Survey shows rebound in business sentiment

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Business sentiment among domestic manufacturers and service providers rebounded last month on expectations that rush orders and government spending could ease economic woes, a think tank found in a survey released yesterday.

The monthly survey, conducted by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院), found a 20.1 percent increase in the number of manufacturers who feel optimistic about the business climate, while those with a pessimistic outlook fell by 40.8 percent.

Chen Miao (陳淼), director of TIER’s macroeconomic forecast center, said a considerable number of manufacturers appeared to regain confidence on inflows of rush orders from China.

The climate reading for the manufacturing sector picked up 12.95 points for the second consecutive month at 93.46 points last month, Chen told a press briefing.

In addition, 33.7 percent of the companies polled said they were upbeat about business prospects for the next six months, compared with 29 percent in January, the survey found.

“The findings show that the industry believes the stimulus package, notably public works plans, could help spur economic growth,” Chen said.

Respondents with a bearish outlook fell to 23.8 percent from 33.5 percent a month earlier, while firms with neutral expectations stood at 42.5 percent, up from 37.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the climate gauge for the service sector increased 2.35 points to 93.03, which Chen attributed in part to better equity market performance.

The benchmark TAIEX gained 7.28 percent last month, with daily transactions jumping 14.69 percent to NT$6.55 billion (US$1.93 billion), data from the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed.

TIER president David Hong (洪德生) said it was too early to interpret the findings as a sign of recovery, adding that the survey was influenced by the holiday effect. Visibility remained low for the global picture, he said.

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