Tue, Sep 29, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Most economic indicators improving

BACK TO NORMAL The index of leading indicators, which is used to gauge economic outlook for the next three to six months, has gained 1.9 percent to reach 100 points

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation’s economic landscape showed further improvement last month, with almost all leading economic indicators gaining ground, signalling a recovery in the coming months, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said yesterday.

The index of leading indicators, used to gauge the economic outlook for the next three to six months, rose 1.9 percent to 100 points last month, while the annualized six-month rate of change rallied for the seventh straight month to 18.1 percent, up 4.4 percentage points from July, the report showed.

“The business cyclical indicators flashed a yellow-blue light for the third time in a row, which shows the economy is healing steadily,” Hung Jui-bin (洪瑞彬), director-general of the council’s economic research department, told a press conference.

While the A(H1N1) virus, ­unemployment and other threats persist, the government is cautiously optimistic about the economic picture ahead, Hung said.

Six of the seven leading components reported positive cyclical movements, with monthly overtime in the industrial and service sectors averaging 7.5 hours, from 6.7 hours a month previously, on rising demand, the report indicated.

Newly approved building permits totaled 1.49 million square meters after seasonal adjustment, from 1.21 million square meters a month earlier, the report said.

Producers’ inventory levels moved down further, implying a growing need for restocking, the report said. However, the semiconductor book-to-bill ratio index reflected a slowdown, although the reading remained above 1.03, down from 1.06 in July, the report said.

Wu Ming-huei (吳明蕙), chief of the council’s research division, said the deceleration was no cause for ­concern, as the value remained above the healthy 1-point mark.

M1B money supply, which refers to cash in circulation and passbook deposits, soared 21.9 percent to NT$9.23 trillion (US$284 million), as investors channeled more funds to the local bourse and eased the dip in share prices to 3 percent from last year, compared with a 4.1 percent decline in July, the report said.

Meanwhile, the index of ­coincident indicators, used to reflect current economic conditions, rebounded 0.6 percent to 92.5 points, with the trend-adjusted measure rising 1 percent to 97.3 points, the report said.

All components except non-­agricultural employment and mechanical and electric equipment import indexes posted positive movements, although the upturn decelerated, the report showed.

Wu said the data affirmed a trend that the financial side outperformed the nation’s economic fundamentals.

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