Business confidence last month declined among the manufacturing, service and real-estate sectors, affected by a spike in local COVID-19 infections that chilled consumer activity, a survey by Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) showed yesterday.
The sentiment gauge for the manufacturing industry weakened to 105.24, shedding 1.28 points from one month earlier, as suppliers of chemical and plastic products turned conservative about their business prospects, while makers of textile and leather products held a negative view, the survey found.
Companies that were optimistic about the next six months softened by 3.2 percentage points to 36.8 percent, while those that were pessimistic gained 5 percentage points to 12.8 percent, it showed.
Suppliers of electronics, machinery, steel and iron products remained upbeat, as they benefited from increased spending globally on information technology and civil engineering infrastructure, it said.
By contrast, a supply crunch of petrochemical products eased after US makers re-entered the field, putting pressure on selling prices, TIER said.
As a result, downstream buyers turned cautious about placing new orders amid concern over potential price declines, it said.
Overall, external demand has remained healthy, which is favorable to Taiwanese exports and the economy as a whole, with GDP forecast to grow by at least 5 percent this year if authorities could quickly bring the outbreak under control, TIER president Chang Chien-yi (張建一) said.
A GDP growth of 6 percent is still likely, although the chance is subsiding amid sluggish consumer activity after the government this week extended the nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert to July 12, Chang said.
The decision has cast a shadow over expectations that consumer spending would start to recover next quarter, leaving exports alone to support the economy, Chang said.
The sentiment gauge for service firms slid 2.24 points to 98.25, down for a second month in a row, the Taipei-based think tank said.
Only warehousing and logistics service providers reported a pickup in business due to a surge in demand for online shopping and food delivery services, it said.
Wholesale companies and restaurants continued to hold bleak views about business prospects, but retailers, banks and insurance firms expect the situation to improve in the second half of this year, it said.
The sentiment for construction and real-estate sectors also took a hit, sliding 3.28 points to 102.73, TIER said.
Tight movement restrictions made house-hunting impossible, and seriously slowed public and private construction projects, it said.
THIRTY PER WEEK: The expansion comes amid rising demand and expectation that higher COVID-19 vaccination rates in North America would further boost ticket sales EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) is planning to increase its weekly passenger flights from Taiwan to North America next month after demand rose substantially this month. “So far, the number of reservations for round-trip flights between Taiwan and North America has grown 27 percent from June, and the passenger load factor is nearly 100 percent for both the business class and the premium economy class,” EVA chairman Steve Lin (林寶水) said at the company’s annual general meeting in Taipei on Friday. From next month, the airline would offer five round-trip flights from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Seattle per week, as well as
HEAVY TOLL: The closure of the plants, which produced 56 percent of Feng Tay’s shoes last year, followed similar shutdowns in India, its second-biggest production base Feng Tay Enterprises Co Ltd (豐泰), a supplier for Nike Inc, on Saturday temporarily shut down four factories in Vietnam, its biggest manufacturing base, for about a week amid COVID-19 lockdowns, it said yesterday. Feng Tay is the latest in a slew of local manufacturers with operations in Vietnam that have suspended operations as the country grapples with its worst outbreak of COVID-19. Pou Chen Corp (寶成工業), the world’s largest manufacturer of branded athletic and casual footwear, last week said that it had suspended operations at its plant in Ho Chi Minh City, as virus restrictions shuttered factories in the business hub
Acer Inc (宏碁) chief executive officer Jason Chen (陳俊聖) and other senior executives at the firm last month continued to purchase company shares to show confidence in the PC vendor, Acer’s filings with the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed. The move came as the company’s PC shipments in the second quarter increased 17.6 percent year-on-year, the largest growth among the world’s top five PC vendors, data released by the company and International Data Corp (IDC) showed last week. Revenue last quarter increased 21.7 percent year-on-year to NT$79.78 billion (US$2.85 billion), the highest for the period in 10 years, the data showed. Acer has over
Taiwan should protect its vaccine supply chain and invest in vaccine development after seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted tremendous social and economic losses worldwide, Sanofi Pasteur Hong Kong & Taiwan general manager Philip Ho said in an interview this week. “When you look at the trillions of dollars that countries have lost, parents who are forced to stay at home with their children and various restrictions imposed following a nationwide lockdown, we really see what we are losing compared with what we can benefit from vaccination,” Ho said. While the government has been trying to secure vaccines since the middle