Fri, Feb 28, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Consumer confidence has hit 28-month high: survey

BETTER TIMES AHEAD:National Central University economics professor San Gee said unemployment will fall below 4% this year, while GDP will grow more than 3%

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

The consumer confidence index (CCI) this month climbed to its highest level in 28 months, with a rise in expectations for the stock market sub-index most evident as the global economy gradually improves, a National Central University survey showed yesterday.

The CCI for this month rose to 82.93, the highest since October 2011, when it reached 83.03, a survey conducted by the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development showed.

The survey — which polled 2,440 people over the age of 20 from Feb. 19 to Friday last week — gauges public expectations for the local stock market’s performance, household finances, durable goods, job opportunities, consumer prices and the economic outlook for the next six months.

The stock market sub-index grew the most, by 23.4 points to 83.4 this month from a year ago, marking its highest level since April 2011.

The sub-index for durable goods rose 19.4 points to 107.25 this month, while that for job opportunities increased 3.55 points to 109.75, both exceeding the 100-point threshold to indicate the public’s upbeat sentiment, the survey showed.

However, sub-indices for consumer prices and the economic outlook dropped 0.15 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, to 45.9 and 75.75, showing ongoing pessimism in these areas.

Center director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) told a press conference that the data showed the public expects the nation’s economy to perform better this year than last year, while National Central University economics professor San Gee (單驥) said the unemployment rate would fall to below 4 percent this year.

With the global economy steadily recovering, Taiwan’s GDP could grow by more than 3 percent this year, Gee said.

“The government should not roll out unfavorable policies to lower the public’s confidence,” said Shia Ben-chang (謝邦昌), a professor in the statistics and information science department at Fu Jen Catholic University.

In view of the seven-in-one elections in November, there might be non-economic factors, especially political elements, guiding the nation’s economic performance this year, he said.

With potential policies such as a wealth tax to address the social justice issue, the economy’s growth might become weaker than expected, he added.

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