The consumer confidence index (CCI) inched up 0.97 points from December to 78.55 last month, ending four straight months of declines, as stable inflationary risks boosted confidence, a National Central University survey showed yesterday.
The CCI benchmark gauges public expectations on the stock market, household finances, durable goods, job opportunities, consumer prices and the economic outlook for the next six months.
Last month’s survey — which polled 2,438 people over the age of 20 from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 — showed improving sentiment about consumer prices, household finances and the economic outlook, while uncertainty remained with regards to the five other factors, the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development said.
“More poll-takers showed confidence in consumer prices in the near future, the major factor driving up the CCI benchmark slightly, which is good news,” center director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) told a press conference.
The consumer prices outlook sub-index rose 7 points to 57.6, the strongest growth level among all the sub-indices, the center said in a report.
However, Shia Ben-chang (謝邦昌), a professor at Fu Jen Catholic University’s statistics and information science department, said recent news about rising utilities prices — i.e. gas, water and electricity — may raise public uncertainty about consumer price trends this month.
In addition, the sub-index for household finances increased 1 point to 82.2, while the economic outlook sub-index climbed 0.45 points to 83.15, an indication that the spending spree before the Lunar New Year helped drive up consumer confidence in the local economy.
However, the durable goods sub-index declined 1.8 points to 91.45, posting the largest fall among all the sub-indices. The report said this was probably because the public remained wary of purchasing big ticket items in the face of the global economic uncertainty.
The sub-index for job opportunities slid 0.4 points to 104.4, while the stock performance sub-index dropped 0.4 points to 52.5, data showed.