The business climate gauges for local manufacturing and service sectors dropped last month, reflecting weak momentum in exports and domestic demand, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The latest survey conducted by the Taipei-based think tank showed that the business climate gauge for the manufacturing sector fell to 96.72 points last month, from a revised 97.33 points in March, terminating a continuous rise in the previous three months.
“The continuing uncertainties because of the eurozone debt crisis and China’s slowing economy deepened manufacturers’ pessimism,” TIER president David Hong (洪德生) told a media briefing yesterday.
In the survey, 19.8 percent of manufacturers said they were optimistic about business confidence last month, down from 41.2 percent in the March survey, while 31.3 percent said they were pessimistic, compared with 19.1 percent in March, the institute said in a press release.
Asked about business prospects for the next six months, 22.6 percent of respondents felt bullish, down from 20.5 percent in the March poll, while those who felt bearish stood at 20.5 percent, down from 22.6 percent in March.
A separate survey conducted by the institute showed the business climate gauge for the service sector slid 3.87 points from March to 97.72 points last month, the first time it fell this year, the press release said.
Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the institute’s macroeconomic forecasting center, said the results showed domestic demand also remained sluggish.
The gauge’s downtrend was mainly due to the pessimism expressed by wholesale and retail firms, while sentiment from securities companies substantially declined as they posted NT$298 million (US$10.05 million) in losses last month because of the stock market’s contraction in trading momentum, Sun said.
Sun said the survey reflected “cold” sentiment in both external and internal sectors, and raised more uncertainties of whether the economy would hit bottom in the first half of the year.
However, the launch of new smartphone and tablet products might be major drivers for local electronic manufacturers in the second half of the year and could help drive up exports and improve domestic demand sentiment, he said.