Wed, Feb 01, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Indicators show economy is rapidly losing strength

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

Economic indicators flashed “blue” for the second straight month last month, the latest in a slew of signs indicating that the economy is losing strength, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday.

The total score of the indicators dropped two points from November’s revised 16 points to stand at 14 last month, the council said in a report. The revised score in November made it flash the first “blue” light since May 2009.

“The flash of ‘blue’ light reflected sluggish business sentiment in Taiwan currently,” said Hung Jui-bin (洪瑞彬), director-general of the council’s economic research department, said at a media briefing.

However, the trend in leading indicators showed some positive signs that the economy might bottom out in the near future, Hung said.

The composite index of leading indicators, a gauge of the economic outlook over the next six months, stood at 128.3 points last month, up 0.5 percent from November, the report said.

The index’s annualized six-month rate of change, which provides a more accurate forecast of the business cycle in the near term, climbed 0.8 percentage points to 2.2 percent last month, marking four months of consecutive increases in revised rates of change, the report’s data showed.

“The trend of straight increases indicated several spring swallows may come,” Hung said, adding that the council would closely monitor whether the trend continued over the next few months.

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