Survey finds confidence in economy is growing

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 - Page 13

Taiwanese are gaining in confidence about the economy and stock investments for the next six months, but stagnant wage expectations are curbing spending on big ticket items and property, a survey by Cathay Financial Holdings Co (國泰金控) showed yesterday.

Forty-two percent of respondents expect the nation’s economy to pick up in the next six months, while 24 percent voiced pessimism, according to the survey that polled 16,521 respondents online between Feb. 1 and Feb. 7.

It was the first time the survey had yielded a positive reading since April last year, Cathay Financial said.

Achilles Chen (陳欽奇), an assistant manager at Cathay Financial’s economic research department, attributed the increase in confidence to encouraging economic data at home and abroad.

Major economic bellwethers point upward, although the pace of recovery is slow, Chen said.

Thirty-four percent of the respondents expect the TAIEX to trend up in the coming six months, outnumbering peers with bearish views at 27 percent, the survey found. Another 22 percent said the main index may hover around similar levels.

A total of 41.5 percent set their target for the index at between 7,800 and 8,000 in the first half, while 34 percent expect the TAIEX to rally above the 8,000-point mark, the survey found.

That suggests limited room for upward movement after the TAIEX gained another 0.22 percent to close at 7960.88 yesterday.

Consequently, 52 percent of the respondents intend to maintain their current stock portfolio, while 20.5 percent plan to increase holdings and 27.4 percent want to reduce them, the survey said.

Despite a rosier economic outlook, a big majority of respondents — 61 percent — expect their income to remain unchanged in the next six months, the survey said, while 23.7 percent expressed concerns over possible wage cuts. Only 15 percent said their wages may increase.