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Taiwan consumer confidence improves in September

Taiwan consumer confidence improves in September

Consumer confidence improved in September as domestic demand grew, in particular for durable goods, at a time when more Taiwanese companies were investing at home to avoid the impact of trade friction between the United States and China, a survey released by National Central University showed Friday.

Citing the survey, the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development said the consumer confidence index (CCI) for September rose 1.12 points from a month earlier to 80.86, with the sub-index on the likelihood of purchasing durable goods over the next six months up 10.6 points from a month earlier at 102.25, the highest growth among CCI factors.

The CCI consists of six factors that reflect public confidence in employment, family finances, consumer prices, the local economic climate, the stock market and the likelihood of purchasing durable goods over the next six months.

The sub-index on the purchase of durable goods for September hit its highest since September 2015, when the sub-index stood at 102.45, according to the university.

Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of the research center, told reporters that while the global trade disputes have hurt Taiwan’s exports, an increase in private investment has boosted the country’s domestic demand and in turn lifted consumer confidence as a whole.

The improvement in the sub-index on purchases of durable goods largely reflects better property market conditions as more Taiwanese investors operating overseas are returning home to invest, which has raised demand for residential and commercial property in Taiwan, Wu said.

Political turmoil in Hong Kong caused by massive protests against a controversial extradition bill is also expected to lead some Hong Kong investors to look for investment opportunities in Taiwan, which could further boost domestic demand, Wu added.

In addition to the purchase of durable goods, three other factors also moved higher in September, with the sub-indexes on consumer prices, family finances, and the local economic climate rising 0.25, 0.15 and 0.10, respectively, from a month earlier, at 51.25, 90.50 and 86.35 in September, the survey found.

Wu said the higher figure for family finances indicated that public confidence in the economy has improved.

Bucking the upturn, the sub-indexes on employment and the stock market fell 4.3 and 0.1, respectively, from a month earlier to 89.70 and 65.1 in September, according to the survey.

A sub-index score of 0 to 100 indicates pessimism, while a score of 100-200 indicates optimism.

In other words, the university said, survey respondents were upbeat about purchases of durable goods among the six factors over the next six months in September.

The survey, conducted from Sept. 19-23, collected 2,803 valid questionnaires from local consumers aged 20 and over. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percentage points. (By Pan Tzu-yu and Frances Huang)