Wed, Oct 28, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Business monitor remains ‘blue’

M1B EXCEPTION:The money supply indicator improved to ‘green,’ while the National Central University survey showed that investment sentiment has decreased to 72.5

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s economic outlook remained bleak after the government’s business monitoring system flashed “blue” for the fourth consecutive month last month, the National Development Council said yesterday.

The overall score remained unchanged on 14 points.

The nine business gauges making up the business monitoring system saw across-the-board declines last month, dragged by weak industrial output and commercial sales, the council said.

The exception was M1B money supply, which improved from “yellow-blue” to “green,” indicating a slight uptick for the financial sector, the council said.

The M1B reading, which includes cash and cash equivalents, last month increased 6.6 percent on a year-on-year basis, compared with 5.9 percent in August.

Looking ahead, the council expects the year-end shopping season to help boost the nation’s languishing exports.

Citing US-based research institute Global Insights, the council said many uncertainties remain a drag on the nation’s exports.

Concerns include the glut of consumer electronics inventories and diminished consumption by the public amid a bleak economic outlook, the council said.

Against that backdrop, consumer confidence dipped again this month, marking the sixth consecutive month of decline, amid rising concerns over consumer prices and dismal employment prospects, a survey by National Central University showed.

The Consumer Confidence Index, a monthly survey by National Central University, logged 84.6 this month, falling 0.72 points from 85.32 last month, dragged down by an across-the-board tumble in all of its six sub-indices.

The sub-index gauging sentiment over consumer prices in the next six months saw the steepest decline this month, dropping 1.9 points to 57.3. However, the figure was 12.1 points higher than a year earlier.

Typhoons have driven up food prices, particularly vegetables, and the sharp decline in the sub-index reflects consumers’ sensitivity to higher costs of grocery and household goods, said Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which conducted the survey.

The sub-index measuring investment sentiment saw the second-sharpest decline, falling 0.7 points to 72.5, the survey showed.

Investment has stabilized after the National Financial Stabilization Fund was activated in August, Wu said.

The sub-index on purchasing durable goods, which is widely regarded as an indicator for the housing market, this month registered 102.05, ending four consecutive months of decline.

However, as the figure has held above 100 for the 25th consecutive month, the outcome suggests that the public has not yet turned pessimistic on the housing market, the survey showed.

A spike in the number of workers on unpaid leave sent the sub-index on jobseeker confidence down 0.55 points to 112.65, the survey showed.

Scores above 100 indicate optimism, while values below that suggest pessimism.

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