The nation’s leading economic indicator continued its uptrend last month, but rising concerns over the discovery of the chemical di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, in food products may hurt private consumption in the near term, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday.
Taiwan Business Indicators, which measures the economic outlook for the upcoming six-month period, rose 0.3 percent to 128 points last month from the previous month, according to the council’s statistics.
The index’s annualized six-month rate of change, which provides a more accurate forecast of business cycles, remained the same at 3.6 percent, terminating 16 months of consecutive decline, evidence that the nation’s economic expansion is more stable, data showed.
“The increasing leading indicator proved the nation’s continuing economic expansion, but the recent DEHP contamination scare may strike food and beverage industries, as well as decrease domestic consumption,” council Deputy Minister Hu Chung-ying (胡仲英) told a media briefing.
The latest leading indicator indexes of the G7 developed countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and five Asian countries (Japan, China, South Korea, India and Indonesia) all rebounded for the seventh straight month, showing that the global economy continued to expand, Hu said.
However, rising uncertainties — including the eurozone’s debt crisis and worse-than-expected economic results in US — indicated the global economy, including Taiwan’s, may only expand slightly in the near term on a lack of drivers, Hu said.
Of the seven components comprising the leading index, only the SEMI book-to-bill ratio and average monthly overtime in industry and services experienced cyclical movement last month, while the other five moved down, the report said.
The other five components include producers’ inventory for manufacturing, export orders, real monetary aggregates M1B, building permits and stock prices, the council’s data showed.