Tue, Oct 30, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Consumer confidence dips for a second month

CAUTIOUS:Sentiment over job opportunities improved, but the consumer prices, stock market, household finances and economic outlook sub-indices remained weak

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The consumer confidence index this month fell to its lowest level since January 2010, as public confidence has yet to reflect the gradual improvement in the nation’s economic fundamentals, a National Central University survey released yesterday showed.

The index slid 1.62 points from a month earlier to 72.73 this month, the second consecutive month of decline, the survey showed.

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.

This month’s survey — which polled 2,434 people over the age of 20 from Oct. 19 to Oct. 22 — showed improving sentiment toward job opportunities and a flat outlook for durable goods, while concern over the four other components increased, the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development said.

“Although various economic indicators turned positive over the past two months, the survey’s results showed local consumers did not feel this way subjectively,” center director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) told a press conference.

The stock market sub-index showed the largest decline among all segments, dropping 5.6 points to 46.9 this month because of external and internal economic uncertainty, the center said in a report.

The household finances sub-index, which decreased 2.25 points to 73.35 this month, has been on a downtrend for eight straight months, as rising consumer prices and stagnant salaries undermined public confidence, the report said.

This was also reflected in the consumer price sub-index, which shrank for the ninth month in a row to 47.15 this month, down 1 point from last month, data showed.

These uncertainties caused the economic outlook sub-index this month to fall its to lowest since March 2010, sliding 1.6 points from a month earlier to 71.3.

However, the continuous steady momentum in the domestic demand sector lent support to job opportunities, which was the only sub-index to record an increase this month, National Central University economics professor San Gee (單驥) said.

The sub-index rose 0.75 points to 108.05 last month, the report said, while the durable goods sub-index was unchanged at 88.9.

In related news, with the stock market remaining sluggish, lawmakers called for a revision of the securities capital gains tax, set to be introducted next year, to drive up investment sentiment.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) said he might launch an initiative that would combine the securities capital gains tax with the securities transaction tax to replace the tax plan passed in July.

KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) criticized the Ministry of Finance for setting its budget target for securities transaction tax collection next year at NT$96.36 billion (US$3.29 billion), saying it was too low and reflected the government’s ineptitude.

Lu said the ministry should raise the target to NT$126.5 billion — the same as this year — to serve as a reminder to the government that it should help boost the stock market.

Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said the NT$96.36 billion budget was set based on the economic outlook next year and records of securities transaction tax revenue over the past few years.

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