Thu, May 17, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Global economy continuing recovery, Ifo research says

TAIWAN STILL BEARISH:Respondents to a poll in Taiwan overwhelmingly said they expected prices to rise because of fuel and electricity price increases

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The global economic climate continued to improve for the second quarter in a row this quarter, confirming that a recovery was underway, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday, citing the latest World Economic Survey by Germany’s Munich-based Ifo research institute.

The German institute’s quarterly survey, which polled 1,101 experts from 121 economies last month, showed its world economic climate index — which included the respondents’ evaluations of current economic conditions and sentiments over the next six months — climbed to 95 points in the second quarter, from 82.4 recorded in the previous quarter.

“The improvement was driven by respondents’ positive expectations for the next six months,” Hsu Chih-hung (徐志宏), a council analyst, told a media briefing.

The sub-index of sentiments for the next six months increased to 101.8 points this quarter, from 80.7 in the previous quarter, while the current economic conditions sub-index rose to 87.9, up from 84.1 recorded in the first quarter, the council said in a report.

As for Taiwan, which polled 12 experts between April 1 and April 23, most respondents gave “bearish” assessments of the nation’s current economic sentiment, private consumption and capital expenditure.

However, more respondents forecast that the overall economy would improve in the next six months, the report said.

All respondents expected consumer prices to rise in the near future, citing the negative impact of the government’s move to allow electricity and gas prices to rise, with most respondents maintaining an upbeat outlook on the stock market.

Compared with polled economists, a foreign brokerage house held a more pessimistic view of the TAIEX in the short term.

UBS Securities said on Tuesday it had lowered its year-end target for the benchmark TAIEX to 8,000 points from 8,550 points, taking into account uncertainty over the global economy.

In a research note, William Dong (董成康), head of research at UBS Securities Taiwan, said that after a recent slump, there were still few signs the local bourse would make an immediate turnaround amid escalating fears over the debt crisis in the eurozone.

Dong said shrinkage in daily turnover has had an impact on market liquidity, a development expected to put local share prices under pressure over the short term.

The TAIEX has fallen about 9 percent since the beginning of March. Daily turnover even fell to a three-year low on Monday to NT$45.5 billion (US$1.54 billion), with many investors staying on the sidelines.

Despite the lowering of the TAIEX target, Dong said his brokerage firm remained upbeat about stocks in select high-tech firms that are expected to push up shipments in the third quarter on the back of the launch of new devices such as the Windows 8 operating system, Ultrabook computers and the iPhone 5.

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