Business sentiment improved last month among local manufacturers and service providers, but property developers turned slightly cautious after policymakers voiced concern about housing price hikes, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The sentiment gauge for the manufacturing industry was 103.11, gaining for the seventh straight month to its highest level since August 2014, as demand for electronics remained strong, even though some products have probably plateaued, the Taipei-based think tank said.
“The manufacturing industry made a significant contribution to the nation’s economic growth this year, especially suppliers of semiconductors, as well as information and communication technology products,” TIER president Chang Chien-yi (張建一) said.
The business upturn, initially limited to tech firms, this quarter became broad-based after demand for machinery equipment, base metals, plastics and other non-technology products started to pick up, Chang said.
That explained why industrial production last month grew 7.84 percent year-on-year, while export orders jumped 12 percent to a record high, he said.
Looking forward, 32 percent of manufacturers are upbeat about their business prospects in the coming six months, up 6.6 percentage points from one month earlier, the monthly survey showed.
Firms with a cautious outlook dropped 1.7 percentage points to 16.7 percent, mostly printing businesses or garment and leather product makers, it said.
Chang said that the global business landscape is in a state of darkness before dawn and would soon brighten up after rapid and wide-spread COVID-19 vaccinations.
The confidence reading for service providers edged up 0.02 percentage points to 96.84, as sectors hold different views, the survey showed.
Most shipping companies, logistics firms and stock brokerages are upbeat, but restaurants and telecoms have dim views, it showed.
Shipping and logistics firms have benefited during the Christmas holiday season, while securities companies have experienced a boost from global monetary easing that fueled liquidity-driven rallies across global bourses, the survey showed.
Restaurants, on the other hand, are taking a hit from major local companies canceling traditional year-end feasts to help curb COVID-19 infection risks, it showed.
The sentiment measure for civil engineering and real-estate companies shed 2.22 percentage points to 109.23, ending two months of gains, the survey showed.
Government agencies last month revived talks of credit control measures to rein in property price hikes and earlier this month they were implemented, TIER said.
Fifty-five percent of companies in the sector expect a business decline in the next six months, the survey showed.
TIER said that credit controls would help prevent land hoarding and housing price hikes, allowing the property market to maintain healthy growth.
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