The Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院) was the most optimistic among local think tanks about the nation’s economy, raising its economic growth forecast for this year to 4.81 percent yesterday, which was even higher than the government’s target of 4.8 percent.
The institute attributed the adjustment mainly to downward changes in the comparison base from 2001 to 2006 by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, on which its figures are calculated.
“The GDP growth forecast for this year edged up 0.6 percentage points from our previous estimate of 4.21 percent in November, because of the lower comparison base in 2006,” TIER president David Hong (洪德生) told a media briefing yesterday.
Hong said another reason why the GDP forecast was revised upward was that private consumption was expected to grow 2.07 percent this year, compared with a forecast of 1.89 percent in November, mostly on improving employment figures and growing consumer confidence.
Hong, however, said the private consumption growth rate this year would still be lower than historical figures, which were 2.28 percent between 2001 and 2008 and 8.4 percent between 1952 and 2000.
The TIER forecast that private investment would grow 7.19 percent this year, up 4.22 percentage points from its previous forecast of 2.97 percent in November.
In addition, exports are expected to expand 10.51 percent this year while imports are forecast to grow 10.13 percent, the report said.
“The trade surplus for this year is likely to reach US$32.74 billion,” Hong said.
GDP forecasts for the four quarters of this year are 8.65 percent, 5.33 percent, 4.17 percent and 1.74 percent respectively, TIER said in the report.
In terms of the currency exchange rate, Hong said the local currency would likely appreciate throughout the year, adding that the New Taiwan dollar is expected to reach NT$31.395 against the greenback.
The consumer price index is expected to climb 1.54 percent year-on-year because of reduced deflationary pressures, the report said.
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