Sat, Oct 26, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Business sentiment sinks on US-China trade dispute fears

Staff writer, with CNA

Business sentiment in the nation’s manufacturing sector dipped last month amid ongoing worries over the US-China trade dispute and its effect on the global economy, an economic think tank survey showed yesterday.

The composite index for the manufacturing sector, which gauges business sentiment among manufacturers, fell 1.27 points to 94.67 last month from August, according to data compiled by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院).

The survey showed that the local manufacturing sector grew more cautious after major economies in the world reported disappointing economic data at a time when the Washington-Beijing trade spat still weighed on the global economy.

Amid falling global demand, China reported 6 percent growth in GDP in the third quarter, down from 6.2 percent a quarter earlier.

It was the lowest quarterly growth rate in China since 1992.

The US Purchasing Managers’ Index also fell 1.3 points to 47.8, signaling a contraction, which hurt business optimism in Taiwan over fears of declining global demand.

The weaker economic data led manufacturers to take a wait-and-see approach last month, TIER said, although the local electronics sector was generally more optimistic because it was entering its traditional peak season for exports.

According to the latest TIER survey, 18.7 percent of manufacturers in Taiwan thought that the business climate had improved last month, which was down from 25.2 percent in August.

Additionally, 39.0 percent of manufacturers thought the business climate had worsened, up from 28.0 percent in August.

The textile, metal and electric machinery industries were more downbeat, the TIER survey showed.

However, looking forward to the next six months, local manufacturers were slightly more upbeat.

The survey showed that 17.4 percent of manufacturers anticipated that the business climate would improve in the coming six months, compared with 14.0 percent in August, while 20.2 percent expected it to deteriorate, down from 26.6 percent a month earlier.

Meanwhile, the sub-index for the property sector fell 2.40 from a month earlier to 97.96 last month, ending four straight months of gains, as a divided outlook on home prices emerged, leaving property developers more cautious, TIER said.

The think tank said that the sub-index for the property market came under downward pressure in the month, despite it being a traditional peak period for domestic real-estate companies.

In the service sector, the composite index fell 1.67 points to 89.23 last month from August.

It was the second consecutive month of decline as local retailers were hit by disappointing sales, TIER said.

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