Tue, May 26, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Business confidence slips as exports falter: survey

BLEAK OUTLOOK:Only 18.5 percent of manufacturers were upbeat about their business showing, while those who were pessimistic increased to 30 percent, TIER said

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese companies’ business confidence was negative last month, as the decline in export value extended to shipment volume amid a global economic slowdown, the results of a survey by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院) showed yesterday.

Only 18.5 percent of local manufacturers were upbeat about their business showing last month, down 23.3 percentage points from 41.8 in March, while manufacturers with bleak views increased to 30 percent from 8.5 percent, the Taipei think tank’s monthly survey found.

Consequently, the business climate gauge for the manufacturing sector registered 96.11 last month, down by 1.45 percentage points from March, the survey said.

The softening sentiment came in line with the nation’s export contraction, which accelerated to 8.9 percent last month, with all product categories reporting a downturn, the survey showed.

While the sharp decline in oil prices was to blame for poor mineral and petrochemical exports, semiconductor inventory adjustments also persisted longer than expected, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said last week.

Weak exports drove the DGBAS to cut its forecast for GDP growth to 3.28 percent for this year from the 3.78 percent it projected in February.

Companies in the printing industry are particularly negative about their business confidence, TIER said, without elaborating.

However, companies expressed slightly more optimism about the business landscape six months ahead, the survey showed.

The number of firms with positive business outlooks gained 2.6 percentage points to 35.3 percent, the survey showed.

Firms engaged in making home appliances, bicycles and bicycle components are upbeat about their business prospects in the coming six months, the survey showed.

The number of firms with a pessimistic outlook rose from 9.2 percent to 12.7 percent last month, with companies involved in making leather products, machinery equipment and data storage devices being the most gloomy, the survey showed.

The business sentiment reading for the service sector also retreated last month to 96.86 percent from a revised 97.85 percent in March, the survey said.

Securities houses were upbeat about their outlook, but warehouses and logistics companies were negative, the survey showed.

The TAIEX gained 2.44 percent last month, with the main index rallying above the 10,000-point level twice in mid-session on active trading volume, the survey showed, which helped encourage brokerages.

The construction industry saw a minor rebound in confidence last month, thanks to the spring sales season, TIER said.

The rebound might not last, given the decline in new construction projects and lingering controversy over major public projects, TIER said.

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