Consumer confidence rises by 0.97 to reach 78.55 in Jan.


CNA

TAIPEI — Consumer confidence in Taiwan rose in January, after four consecutive months of decline, a university survey showed yesterday. The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) compiled by the Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development at National Central University, increased 0.97 points to 78.55 in January from 77.58 in December, marking the first rise since last September. “It is good news,” Dachrahn Wu, the center’s director, said at a press conference to unveil the survey results in Taipei. However, he added that consumers are still generally pessimistic, as the reading is still below 100. Among the six CCI sub-indices, confidence in domestic consumer prices, household finances and the local economy were higher in January than in the previous month, with the figure for domestic consumer prices showing a steep growth of 7 points to 57.60. The center attributed the margin to a “seasonal effect,” as the survey took place after the presidential and legislative elections and before the Lunar New Year holiday. Shia Ben-chang, a professor in the statistics and information science department at Fu Jen Catholic University who also attended the press conference, agreed.

With fuel and electricity prices likely to rise, there will be a difference in February, he said. After four consecutive months of big declines, confidence in the local economy finally bounced back. Although the increase was small, “it can still be considered a positive sign,” said Shia. Confidence in durable goods purchases, stock market investments and the job market were down. However, among the six CCI indices, confidence in the job market was the only one to register over 100 — at 104.40 points — indicating optimism amid growing availability of job openings, according to the center. The January index was based on a survey of 2,438 people over the age of 20. It was conducted Jan. 18-20 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The index also coincided with other local and global indices in January, including the Purchasing Managers Indices for China, Germany and the United States, as well as the leading indicator released by the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development.