Consumer sentiment weakened slightly this month as Taiwanese gained more confidence about stock investments and income levels, but lost interest in purchases of durable goods, a National Central University survey showed yesterday.
The consumer confidence index fell two points from last month to 70.9, the survey found.
“The surge in COVID-19 infections around the world is taking a toll on consumer confidence, even though people in some countries started to receive vaccine shots,” said Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which conducted the survey.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
The confidence reading on purchases of durable goods, mainly real estate, slumped 13.55 points to 111.65 after various government agencies early this month introduced unfavorable policies to curb property price hikes.
Survey respondents were also expecting to face more difficulty in finding jobs, with the index falling 2.85 points to a decade low of 61.95, it said.
The nation’s job market is still under the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially tourism-related businesses, but electronics suppliers have benefited from the remote-working and learning economy, government data have shown.
Wu expects the adverse effects of the pandemic to persist through the first half of next year, when mass vaccinations are expected to bear fruit.
The consumer confidence index consists of six sub-indices reflecting public confidence over the next six months. Confidence values of higher than 100 indicate optimism and scores lower than the neutral threshold suggest a pessimistic sentiment.
The sub-index on the economic outlook softened a fractional 0.35 points to 84.9, while the gauge on consumer prices decreased 0.2 points to 41.15, as cheaper oil and raw material prices continued to weigh on inflation measures.
Taiwanese also grew mildly more confident about their income levels in the coming six months, with the sub-index rising 1.55 points to 87.15, the survey showed.
The investment sub-index rose 3.4 points to 38.6, as the TAIEX repeatedly rallied to record highs on the back of excessive liquidity. Despite the rise, the figure remained below 40 for the fourth consecutive month and was far lower than the historical average of 73, the research center’s data showed.
Yao Jui (姚睿), an economist at the university, said confidence in the stock market over the next six months is at a relatively low level, due to an already high valuation of the TAIEX, a grim economic outlook amid the pandemic and a K-shaped economic recovery — meaning uneven, but continued growth among different sectors and income groups — in Taiwan this year.
The telephone survey interviewed 2,862 adults from Dec. 18 to Monday last week.
Additional reporting by CNA
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to post a 25 percent year-on-year increase in sales in the first quarter of this year to US$12.91 billion, up from US$10.31 billion a year earlier, as its production is at full capacity, market advisory firm TrendForce Corp said in a note last week. The increase would help TSMC cement its leadership in the industry by taking a 56 percent market share in the global pure wafer foundry business, TrendForce said. Its forecast was in line with TSMC’s estimate in January, which pointed to a range of US$12.7 billion to US$13 billion for the
MULTI-USE: The arrangement of seats in future vehicles would be different, allowing passengers to do everything they do at home, the CEO of the firm’s EV platform said Electric vehicles (EVs) developed on a Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) platform would be built like “a smartphone on a different platform,” Jack Cheng (鄭顯聰), chief executive officer of the Hon Hai-initiated MIH Open Platform Alliance, said on Saturday. It would be the ultimate goal to make vehicles built on the platform an extension of the driver’s home, he said during an online presentation. The alliance aims to provide resources to automakers and boost Taiwan’s EV development, with a vision to make an EV its owner’s “second home,” Cheng said. “Whatever they can do in their home, they will be able
RARE POSITION: IHS Markit expects exports to increase by about 13 percent this year, as demand for electronics worldwide has recovered significantly since last year Taiwan’s economy might expand 4.1 percent this year, accelerating from a 3.11 percent pickup last year, as its exports would continue to benefit from surging demand for electronics products amid and after the COVID-19 pandemic, global research body IHS Markit said yesterday. Taiwan has been one of the world’s most resilient economies during the pandemic-triggered recession last year. Economic indicators at the beginning of this year signal improving growth momentum for its economy over the coming months, as the global economy and trade rebounds, the US-British information provider said. According to the latest IHS Markit survey of business confidence in Taiwan, the
Clean energy use and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions are the common consciousness of all countries in the world. Among them, the introduction of renewable energy storage systems and the promotion of electric vehicles are the unanimous implementation of governments and enterprises around the world. The most critical strategic component is the lithium ion battery. Whoever has a higher energy density, lower cost, and higher safety lithium battery will control the development trend of this wave of safer lithium battery technology. All-solid-state batteries are a goal that everyone is striving to pursue. However, the stable and large scale production of solid-state