Wed, Jul 29, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Consumer confidence improves

OUTLOOK: Investment sentiment saw the biggest improvement last month, with respondents expressing interest in joining the equity market in the next six months

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The consumer confidence index (CCI) remained negative last month yet was at its best in more than a year, with all subindexes but one showing improvement, a survey released yesterday showed.

The CCI gained 4.74 points to 56.18 this month, exceeding a high of 56.08 points a year ago. But the reading remained well below the “neutral” mark of 100 points, the survey said.

A value between 100 and 200 indicates optimism, while a score below 100 indicates pessimism. The monthly poll is conducted by National Central University’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development.

Of the subindexes, investment sentiment saw the biggest improvement, rising 23.6 points to 82 from 58.4 last month, with respondents largely expressing interest in joining the equity market in the next six months, the poll said.

The durable goods subindex rose 2.6 points to 82.5, indicating that more consumers expected to purchase durable commodities during the next half year.

INFLATION

The inflation gauge rose 2.55 points to 43.5, reflecting concern that consumer prices would increase in the same period.

Shia Ben-chang (謝邦昌), a professor of statistics and information science at Fu Jen Catholic University who heads the survey project, voiced concern about the employment subindex, which dipped 1.85 points to 33.1, from 34.95 last month.

GLOOMY SENTIMENT

“The survey showed that most respondents are pessimistic about the job market” after the unemployment rate hit a record 5.94 percent last month and the government predicted it could continue to rise, Shia said.

The gloomy sentiment is not conducive to consumer spending in light of the high unemployment among middle-aged breadwinners, he said.

Meanwhile, the indexes on household income and economic outlook gained 0.95 and 0.6 points to 43.85 and 52.15 respectively, the survey said.

The research team polled 2,310 people aged 20 and older by telephone between July 19 and last Wednesday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.

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