More manufacturers in Taiwan are cautious about business sentiment over the next six months, as the US government’s shutdown and debt ceiling woes last month affected global financial markets, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The Taipei-based think tank made the remark after announcing results of its latest survey, which found the business climate gauge for the manufacturing sector reached 97.67 points last month, down 1.11 points from the revised 98.78 points recorded in August.
In its monthly report, the institute said that 20.4 percent of local manufacturers polled last month were bearish about the next six months, up from the 19.7 percent in August, while respondents expressing bullish sentiment fell by 3.8 percentage points from a month earlier to 20.9 percent.
Only 25.3 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about their businesses last month, down 1.5 percentage points from 26.8 percent recorded in August, the report said.
The report also found that 41.1 percent of respondents were pessimistic about their businesses last month, an increase of 18.6 percentage points from 22.5 percent in August.
Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the institute’s macroeconomic forecasting center, said the results showed business sentiment may still lack the strength this quarter, as the US fiscal problems offset positive drivers such as the economic recovery in China and Europe.
“In terms of export orders last month, most of the growth was led by information technology products, with other major sectors still in a downturn trend,” Sun said by telephone.
In the service sector, the business climate gauge stood at 93.63 points last month, down 1.6 points from 95.23 in August, the report showed.
In the construction sector, the business climate gauge dropped to 93.32 points last month, from the revised 95.1 points recorded in August.
The gauges in the manufacturing, service and construction sectors all showed the third straight monthly decline last month, an indication that economic sentiment in Taiwan has showed a downturn trend, Sun said.
Although sentiment this quarter may not be as optimistic as the market expected, Sun said the economy during the three-month period may remain flat even though the US congressional stalemate was temporarily resolved.