The consumer confidence index (CCI) fell for a fourth straight month last month, reaching its lowest level in more than two years, mainly because of continued uncertainty about the local stock market, a National Central University survey showed yesterday.
The index fell 1.28 points from a month earlier to 75.08 last month, marking its lowest level since March 2010, the survey showed.
The CCI benchmark gauges public expectations about 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 2,430 people over the age of 20 from July 19 to July 21 — showed downbeat sentiment in all six areas, the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development said.
“The results showed consumer confidence may remain sluggish over the near future,” center director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) told a press conference.
The stock market sub-index led the decline for the fourth consecutive month by plunging 3.5 points to 43.6, falling below 45.7, the lowest point reached during the global financial crisis from 2008 to 2009, the center said in a report.
It was the sector’s worst performance since August 2004, the report’s statistics showed.
Meanwhile, the economic outlook sub-index fell 1.65 points to 78.5, marking the second-largest drop among the six sub-indicators.
However, Wu said the sub--index’s reading could improve in the coming months because the economy is expected to recovery in the third quarter.
The other four sub-indices all dropped within a range that indicated there was no major change in public confidence in these areas from a month earlier, Wu added.
In related news, manufacturing sentiment in June dropped to the lowest level this year amid global economic uncertainties, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The Taipei-based think tank’s latest report classified the manufacturing sector’s business climate as flashing “blue” — implying a decline — for the fourth straight month.
The reading for cyclical movement in June was 9.12 points, down 0.3 points from the revised 9.42 points posted in May, the report said.
The Eurozone debt crisis and the slowing economy in the US and China were major external factors dragging down manufacturing -sentiment in June, said Gordon Sun (孫明德), deputy director of the institute’s macroeconomic forecasting center.
Domestically, uncertainty over the issue of a capital gains tax on securities transactions in June also drove up volatility for the economy, impacting manufacturing sentiment, the institute said.
The overall data showed sluggish sentiment in the manufacturing sector in the first half of this year, Sun said, adding that sentiment in the second half of the year could gradually rebound if global and domestic economy do not deteriorate further, Sun said.