Sun, Dec 26, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan retail sales forecast to hit record high this year

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s retail sales for this year are expected to hit a record high on the back of a strong economic rebound, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said on Friday.

Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), deputy director of the Statistics Department, forecast that retail sales would rise 6.4 percent this year from last year to NT$3.49 trillion (US$116.85 billion).

“Retail sales data is one of the major indicators of private consumption,” Tsai said. “As the local economy is growing, we expect retail sales to hit a record high this year.”

Last month, retail sales totaled NT$299.9 billion, up 5.46 percent from a year earlier, and the figure for this month is expected to reach NT$300 billion, Tsai said.

The falling jobless rate, which was at almost a two-year low of 4.73 percent last month, and a booming local stock market has boosted buying in the retail sector, she said.

Many retailers in Taiwan are expanding their operations by opening new stores, in anticipation of more business as a result of larger numbers of Chinese tourists.

She said the implementation of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed by Taiwan and China in late June has also reinforced consumer confidence.

“With consumer confidence on the rise, sales of big-ticket items are rebounding, in particular car sales,” Tsai said.

In the first 11 months of the year, car sales totaled around 297,000 units, and the number is expected to reach a four-year high of 325,000 units for the full year, Tsai said.

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