Public confidence in economy rebounds, bank survey shows

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 - Page 13

The public’s confidence in the economy has rebounded for the second consecutive month as the resolution of the US “fiscal cliff” helped raise optimism in the market, according to a survey published by Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) yesterday.

The survey showed this month’s economic optimism index rebounded to minus-17.1 points, from minus-37.8 points last month, marking the highest level in nine months.

The economic outlook optimism index, which gauges public confidence for the next six months, also recovered to 8.5 from minus-12.7 points recorded last month, the survey showed.

“Public uncertainty about global financial markets and the political situation eased following the [resolution of the] ‘fiscal cliff’ problem in the US,” Cathay Financial said.

The upturn in the nation’s composite monitoring economic indicators — which avoided flashing a “blue” light signifying a decline for a third month last month — also helped fuel optimism for economy, said Cathay Financial, the nation’s largest financial services provider by assets.

Those upside drivers made the public positive about the securities market, with the index of investor optimism on the stock market rebounding for the second straight month to 3.7 points, the survey showed.

The rising trend in export orders also boosted confidence in the labor market, with more respondents upbeat on the outlook for wages, the survey showed.

Meanwhile, the government’s policy that required buyers of real estate to register actual transaction prices, which was launched in August last year, has boosted confidence in the real estate market, the survey showed. However, the same measure led to real-estate sellers maintaining a relatively conservative attitude, it added.

The survey showed that most respondents said the government’s financial and economic policies had been the key factor affecting the nation’s economy and the performance of the stock market, while the impact of the European debt crisis had slowed gradually.

The survey — conducted from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7 — collected 18,678 valid responses from Cathay Financial customers.