Tue, Dec 30, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Consumer confidence index plunges to eight-year low

By Kelson Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation’s consumer confidence index (CCI) hit an eight-year low of 49 points this month amid growing fears of job losses and weakening consumer spending, a survey showed yesterday.

This month’s CCI fell below the 50-point threshold for the first time since the monthly survey began in January 2001. The new result is down 0.87 points from last month, said the National Central University, which organizes the survey.

A figure between 0 and 100 indicates consumer pessimism, while one between 100 and 200 indicates consumer optimism.

The nation’s CCI has posted eight consecutive months of decline since May, the report showed.

Although four of the six sub-indices, including price level, domestic economic climate, family economic conditions, and the timing to invest in stocks rose from a month earlier, the index as a whole was dragged down by the bleak outlook for the local job market and people becoming more hesitant to buy durable goods, such as houses and cars, amid the economic downturn, the report said.

The sub-index for domestic job opportunities within the next six months plunged by 8.55 points from a month ago to 46.25, while the timing to buy durable goods within half a year shed 4.35 points to 85.2.

The subindex that saw the largest rise this month was domestic price levels within the next six months, climbing 4.7 points from a month ago to 29.4, while the timing to invest in the stock market within half a year was second, up by 2 points to 47.7.

This month’s CCI, conducted between Dec. 19 and Dec. 22, polled 2,180 individuals over 20 years old, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence, the university said.

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