Taiwan's economy grew at a slower-than-expected rate in the first quarter as lackluster private consumption offset robust exports, a government official said yesterday.
The slight correction would not hinder further economic growth during the rest of the year. Robust exports in the first quarter led the government to raise its gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for the full year to 4.31 percent from the 4.25 percent predicted previously.
"Growth momentum looks quite good for the year as the global economy is moving up which includes Taiwan's major trade partners, the US and China," Hsu Jan-yau (許璋瑤), minister of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), told a press conference.
"All the key indicators are moving up except for private consumption," he said.
Nationally, GDP was 4.93 percent during the first quarter, lower than the 5.06 percent estimated in February by the government's statistical agency.
The first-quarter figure of 4.93 percent growth also compares to a 6.4-percent expansion registered during the final quarter of last year, the fastest pace for six quarters, according to DGBAS figures.
"Private consumption is much more sluggish than we expected, primarily because of a sharp drop in automobile sales," Hsu said.
According to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, sales of new cars in Taiwan dropped by nearly 25 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year ago.
Private consumption, which makes up about two-thirds of Taiwan's total GDP figure, only increased by 2.07 percent instead of the 2.97 percent projected by the government.
But, the exports of goods and services grew at a faster-than-expected annual rate at 14.1 percent during the first three months, compared to the earlier estimates of 12.1 percent, Hsu said without giving detailed figures.
Manufacturing production, the biggest component of industrial output, also increased rapidly, rising 8.21 percent from a year ago, he said.
But, rocketing crude oil prices and high levels of credit and cash-card debt, which were partly blamed for sluggish personal consumption during the first three months, were concerns, Hsu said.
Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), an economist at Citigroup, said he was inclined to keep his forecast unchanged.
"We haven't seen sufficient evidence to lift the forecast," Cheng said.
Cheng predicted that Taiwan's economy would expand by 3.9 percent this year from last year.
"Inflation is the only uncertainty and can erode economic growth," Cheng said.
The government predicted the consumer price index, a tool used to gauge an economy's inflation, would rise moderately by 1.8 percent this year after increasing by 1.35 percent in the January-March period from the same period last year.
Hsu said growth in the CPI would only take away about 0.1 percentage point from the nation's GDP this year as the hikes in energy and electricity prices did not reflect sky-high global oil prices.
Vaccine skeptics blocking transfusions for life-saving surgeries, Facebook groups inciting violence against doctors and a global search for unvaccinated donors — COVID-19 misinformation has bred a so-called “pure blood” movement. The movement spins anti-vaccine narratives focused on unfounded claims that receiving blood from people inoculated against COVID-19 “contaminates” the body. Some have advocated for blood banks that draw from “pure” unvaccinated people, while medics in North America say they have fielded requests from people demanding transfusions from donors who have not received a vaccine. In closed social media groups, vaccine skeptics — who brand themselves as “pure bloods” — promote violence against doctors
Asteroid mining start-up AstroForge Inc is planning to launch its first two missions to space this year as it seeks to extract and refine metals from deep space. The first launch, scheduled for April, is to test AstroForge’s technique for refining platinum from a sample of asteroid-like material. The second, planned for October, would scout for an asteroid near Earth to mine. The missions are part of AstroForge’s goal of refining platinum-group metals from asteroids, with the aim of bringing down the cost of mining these metals. It also hopes to reduce the massive amount of carbon emissions that stem from mining
‘IT HURTS TOO MUCH’: After talks between Blizzard and NetEase over their contract broke down, servers hosting Blizzard’s games in China were shut down Millions of Chinese gamers have lost access to World of Warcraft after a furious dispute between US title owner Activision Blizzard Inc and NetEase Inc (網易), its longtime local partner in the world’s biggest gaming market. Devotees of the popular game took to social media networks to bemoan the loss, with one posting an image of a failed connection message accompanied by crying emojis. “It really hurts my heart,” one wrote. “It hurts, it hurts too much,” another said. Massively popular worldwide, particularly in the 2000s, World of Warcraft — often abbreviated as WoW — is an online multiplayer role-playing game set in
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday accused Alphabet Inc’s Google of abusing its dominance in digital advertising, threatening to dismantle a key business at the heart of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful Internet firms. The US government said Google should be forced to sell its ad manager suite, tackling a business that generated about 12 percent of Google’s revenues in 2021, but also plays a vital role in the search engine and cloud company’s overall sales. “Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” the