Wed, Jan 30, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Consumer confidence index snaps decline

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The consumer confidence index rebounded this month, snapping four months of decline amid improving economic prospects at home and abroad, a survey showed yesterday.

The survey, conducted by the National Central University on behalf of the government, showed that the index had risen to 72.82 this month, an increase of 1.76 points from the previous month that ended the continuous fall seen since September last year.

The index gauges the public’s expectations of stock market performance, household finances, durable goods, job opportunities, consumer prices and the economic outlook for the next six months.

All six components of the index rose this month from last month, the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development said.

The center surveyed 2,440 people over the age of 20 from Jan. 19 to Jan. 22.

“Overall, consumer confidence may continue to recover over the rest of the year, given that major research institutes have forecast that national GDP would grow more than 3 percent, or even 4 percent, this year” center director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) told a media briefing.

The improvement was in line with the latest results of composite monitoring economic indicators given by the Council for Economic Planning and Development on Monday, Wu added. The indicators last month flashed a “green” signal — implying steady economic growth — for the first time in 16 months.

The stock market outlook showed the biggest increase among the sub-indeces, gaining 6.5 points from the previous month to reach 52.7 this month, its third straight month of rebound, the center said in its report.

Meanwhile, the household finance and economic outlook sub-indices surged 1.45 points and 1.35 points to 73.6 and 73.85 respectively this month from last month, the report said.

Shia Ben-chang (謝邦昌), a professor in the statistics and information science department at Fu Jen Catholic University, said the rise in these two sub-indices reflected that private consumption has been surging amid improving sentiment.

The job opportunities sub-index also inched up 0.65 points from a month earlier to hit 105.25 this month, staying above the 100-point minimum optimism threshold for the 22nd consecutive month, the report showed.

National Central University economics professor San Gee (單驥) said the unemployment rate may improve to 4 percent, or below 4 percent, compared with the 4.24 percent average jobless rate recorded last year.

The consumer prices sub-index rose by 0.4 points to 46.45 this month from last month, while the durable goods sub-index edged up 0.2 points to 85.05, statistics showed.

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