Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Economy still sluggish: CEPD

UNCERTAINTY:Growth momentum remains weak as increasing concern over the European debt crisis and US spending cuts weighs on exports, a council official said

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

An index of economic monitoring indicators rose 1 point last month to 20, flashing another “yellow-blue” light, as the economy remained stagnant, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said yesterday.

The council uses a five-color spectrum to gauge domestic economic health, with “blue” signaling recession, “yellow-blue” a slowdown, “green” steady growth, “yellow-red” a slight overheating and “red” overheating.

MIXED DATA

“The data last month showed a mixture of improvements and declines, which suggests that the economy is still struggling and that growth momentum is weak,” Hung Jui-bin (洪瑞彬), director-general of the council’s economic research department, told a press conference.

Furthermore, growing concerns about the European debt crisis and spending cuts in the US increased uncertainty about exports, Hung said.

He added that it was still difficult to say when economic conditions would head in a positive direction.

The score of composite monitoring indicators — which take into account both leading and coincident indicators — reached 20 last month because of higher industrial production, non-agricultural employment, and imports of machinery and electrical equipment.

The index of leading economic indicators, which is used to gauge short-term economic outlook, gained 1.1 percent last month from a month earlier to 137.6 points, posting its seventh consecutive increase, the council’s monthly report showed.

The index’s annualized six-month rate of change, which provides a more accurate forecast of the business cycle in the near term, climbed 1.1 percentage points to 9.8 percent last month from a month earlier, the report said.

COINCIDENT INDICATORS

The index of coincident indicators, which reflects monthly economic conditions, fell 0.1 percent to 98.8 points last month, its ninth consecutive decline.

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