Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Council sets next year’s growth target at 2.4 to 2.6 percent

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The National Development Council yesterday set its growth target for next year at between 2.4 percent and 2.6 percent, slightly higher than the official forecast, due to concerns that the absence of low-base benefits might limit upside surprises.

Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) unveiled the goal after a policy meeting, indicating that the government became conservative after exports put in a strong performance in the second half of this year.

“It is unrealistic to set an ambitious target with the comparison base growing so high this year,” Chen told a media briefing.

Exports picked up 13 percent in the first 10 months and have yet to show signs of a slowdown due to the arrival of the high sales season for technology products abroad, she said.

However, statistics officials have said inventory demand for electronic parts, the main driver of Taiwan’s outbound shipments, cannot increase forever.

The government is striving for balanced growth next year — when exports might have a soft landing and the special budget on infrastructure projects and a 3 percent pay raise for civil servants would support capital formation and consumer spending, Chen said.

In addition, the government is seeking to remove investment hurdles such as shortages of land, electricity, water and labor so that companies at home and overseas can raise their investment levels in Taiwan, she said.

“Efficiency will sit atop the list of concerns for the National Development Council and other government agencies next year,” she said.

All agencies are taking steps to boost firms that make up the five-plus-two industries by matching excess capital with worthy investment targets, she said.

The council is also seeking to help keep inflation below 2 percent and the unemployment rate at between 3.7 percent and 3.8 percent next year, while per capital income is set at a range of US$25,233 to US$25,307, it said.

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