Credit card spending last year is forecast to have dropped for the first time in 11 years, as the COVID-19 pandemic dampened private consumption, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Thursday.
The commission’s remarks came after credit card spending dropped 0.8 percent year-on-year to NT$259.5 billion (US$9.12 billion) in November last year, according to FSC data.
On a monthly basis, the spending rose 7.81 percent due to promotions for the Double 11, or Singles’ Day, sales event.
If credit spending last month “surpassed NT$270 billion, annual spending would hit NT$3 trillion, but it is not very likely, given that the monthly credit card spendings last year was about NT$220 billion to NT$250 billion,” Banking Bureau Deputy Director-General Lin Chih-chi (林志吉) told a news conference in New Taipei City.
Even if credit card spending hit NT$3 trillion, it would still be down 6.8 percent from NT$3.22 trillion in 2019, Lin said.
It would be the first annual contraction in credit card spending after registering new highs for 10 consecutive years, the commission said.
The last time that credit card spending dipped was in 2009 amid the global financial crisis, when it fell to NT$1.36 trillion, the data showed.
Despite Taiwan having effectively controlled the COVID-19 outbreak within its borders, credit card spending remained weak as people delayed purchases and canceled overseas travel due to strict border controls, the commission said.
Among the nation’s 33 credit card issuers, Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) ranked first in terms of credit card spending volume, posting NT$40.8 billion, followed by E.Sun Commercial Bank (玉山銀行) with NT$39.02 billion and CTBC Bank (中國信託銀行) with NT$37.67 billion, the data showed.
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