Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Sentiment hits highest level in over two years after data show rising performance

Staff writer, with CNA

Positive sentiment about the local economy reached its highest point in more than two years after a slew of economic data pointed to improved performance, a survey by Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金) showed yesterday.

The upbeat outlook came after the nation’s economy grew 3.11 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, beating an earlier government estimate of 1.89 percent on the back of a strong export performance, Cathay Financial said.

The National Development Council’s composite monitoring indicator not only flashed a green light for September, but also reached 30, the highest level since April 2011, it added.

The survey showed that 31.3 percent of respondents said the economy is doing better than six months ago, while 28.6 percent said it is doing worse.

The figures translate into about 2.8 for this month’s economic optimism index, marking the first time that the index has been in the positive territory since May 2015, it said.

Meanwhile, the economic optimism index for the next six months rose from minus-5.9 last month to zero, the first time the index has climbed out of negative territory since May 2015, when it stood at 14.4, Cathay Financial said.

With the improved sentiment, local investors appeared more willing to make purchases, as the index that measures willingness to buy big-ticket items hit its highest point in more than two years, it said.

The index on willingness to buy big-ticket items rose from 4 last month to 5.5 this month, the highest since July 2015, when it was 7.2, Cathay Financial said.

Optimism in the equity market over the next six months rose from minus 17.2 last month to minus 7.7, while the index gauging the appetite to take risks rose from minus 4.8 to minus 2, the survey showed.

Cathay Financial said that 61.9 percent of respondents believe that the local economy is to grow more than 2 percent next year with an expected economic growth rate of 2.08 percent. It is less than the government forecast of 2.77 percent, but higher than the 1.57 percent growth expected for this year.

The nation’s consumer price index is expected to rise 1.11 percent next year, higher than an earlier government estimate of 0.87 percent, the survey said.

The survey, conducted from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, collected 18,866 valid online questionnaires from clients of Cathay Life Insurance (國泰人壽) and Cathay United Bank (國泰世華), which are fully owned by Cathay Financial.

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