Tue, May 29, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Business indicator points to growth

FLASHING GREEN:The official GDP growth forecast for this year was last week raised to 2.6% from 2.42%, even as consumer confidence fell for the second straight month

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s business indicator flashed “green” for the third consecutive month last month, indicating stable growth in the economy, the National Development Council said yesterday.

The overall composite score of business monitoring indicators rose three points from the previous month to 26, the council’s monthly report said.

The council uses a five-color spectrum to identify the nation’s economic state, with “blue” representing a recession, “green” signifying steady growth and “red” indicating overheating. Dual-color signals suggest the economy is changing gears.

Among the nine sub-indices, only the readings on the monetary aggregate M1B and nonagricultural employment signaled “blue,” council data showed.

“We can see that the domestic economy stays on a course of expansion, even though the decrease in both coincident and leading indicators signaled slower growth,” council research director Wu Ming-huei (吳明蕙) told a news conference.

The leading indicator index, which is used to gauge the economic outlook six months ahead, fell to 100.15 from 100.57 in March, Wu said.

Five sub-indices of the leading indicator index, including export orders and semiconductor equipment imports, moved down, while the indicator for building permits and M1B rose, the report said.

The index of coincident indicators, which reflects current economic conditions, last month fell to 100.36 from 100.95 the previous month, it said.

However, the council said it is positive about the nation’s overall economic outlook, as the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics last week raised its economic growth forecast for the year from 2.42 percent to 2.6 percent.

In related news, the nation’s consumer confidence fell for a second straight month this month, due mainly to waning confidence in the local stock market and employment, a National Central University survey showed yesterday.

The confidence index fell by 1.28 points to 85.61, the lowest since October last year.

Six sub-indices — public expectations about the stock market, household finances, durable goods consumption, employment opportunities, consumer prices and the economic outlook for the next six months — all fell slightly from last month.

The stock market sub-index led the declines for the second consecutive month by falling 3.6 points to 101.90 this month, while the sub-index on the job market fell 1.45 points to 104.35, the survey showed.

Points greater than 100 suggest positive sentiment while scores lower than that indicate pessimism.

The survey, conducted between May 19 and Wednesday last week, collected 2,658 valid questionnaires from people aged 20 and older.

It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Additional Reporting by CNA

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