Consumer confidence remained high last month, with the index rising for a fourth straight month, a National Central University report released yesterday showed.
The rising level of confidence points to the likelihood of an economic pickup in the second quarter as private consumption recovers, the report said.
That is welcome news following a government report yesterday showing that the economy expanded by a weaker-than-expected 1.54 percent in the first quarter.
The consumer confidence index rose to 77.29 last month, up 1.28 points from March and its highest level since May last year, the report showed.
The index gauges public expectations on the stock market’s performance, household finances, durable goods, job opportunities, consumer prices and the economic outlook for the next six months.
Last month’s survey — which polled 2,429 people over the age of 20 from April 19 to April 22 — showed improvements in all six sectors, the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development said.
“The results indicated that the retail sector could see a significant recovery in the second quarter, which would be a positive driver for private consumption,” National Central University economics professor Chu Yun-peng (朱雲鵬) told a media briefing.
The stock market’s performance saw the biggest increase among the six sub-indices, gaining 3.1 points from March to 63.1 and rising for five months in a row, the center said.
Durable goods recorded the second-largest increase, surging 3 points from a month ago to 93.55, followed by consumer prices, which rose 0.75 points month-on-month to 47 last month, the report said.
Despite the slower pace of advancement for the three other sub-indices, the across-the-board uptrend lends support to a cautiously optimistic view of the economy over the remaining quarters, center director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) said.