Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Consumer confidence rising, index shows

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The consumer confidence index improved to 77.63 last month, an increase of 3.28 points from January’s figure, led by a significant upturn in stock investment sentiment amid recent rallies on the local bourse, a survey by National Central University (NCU) showed yesterday.

The confidence gauge consists of six indicators measuring confidence in stock performances, household incomes, durable goods consumption, employment opportunities, inflation and the economy over the next six months.

The sub-index on stock investments saw the biggest advance, surging by 20.6 points from January’s figure to 87.1 last month.

“Respondents are upbeat about the stock market’s outlook as the TAIEX has been at more than 9,000 points since the end of last year,” said Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of the NCU’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which helped conduct the survey.

The benchmark index yesterday dropped 0.78 percent to close at 9,674.78 points, still comfortably above the 9,000 mark.

Wu attributed the rallies to global fund inflows that raised the New Taiwan dollar against the greenback and liquidity-driven rallies that gave the public more confidence about the stock market.

“However, it remains to be seen if the confidence holds firm,” Wu said by telephone, adding that global funds might flow to the US market on expectations of interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve later this month.

The sub-index on employment outlook waned, with a marginal fall of 0.6 points to 100.3 last month, the survey showed.

Respondents were also less optimistic about household incomes, with the sub-index losing 0.6 points to 76.3, it said.

Respondents expressed concerns that new labor laws might hurt the job market and household incomes, as some companies plan to hire more part-time staff to save costs, Wu said.

The new rules, which took effect in January, require more holidays and higher overtime pay for workers.

The sub-index on durable goods consumption, an indicator of confidence in the housing market, decreased 0.05 points to 84.95, the survey said, suggesting prospective buyers would remain cautious.

Confidence scores of between zero and 100 indicate pessimism, while a score of between 100 and 200 indicates optimism.

The survey, which was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday last week, used 2,427 valid questionnaires and had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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