Consumer confidence up in April

By Kuan-lin Liu, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Local consumer confidence is up for the third month in a row, according to the latest survey by Cathay Financial Holdings (國泰金控) released on Monday.

Cathay Financial’s consumer confidence survey, which is conducted monthly and includes optimism indexes for the current and future economy, found that consumer confidence continued to grow this April, making it the highest point since July 2015.

The finance firm pointed toward market optimism regarding new Apple Inc. products that are poised to take Apple-related stocks to new heights, local media reported.

April’s stock market index saw a slight bump to -11.9, while the risk-appetite index went up to -6.1, both of which were the highest they had been since the latter half of 2015.

Overall, Cathay Financial found that 47 percent of the public thinks that this year’s economy has the chance to surpass the 1.5 percent growth it experienced last year.

About 5.2 percent of the public thinks Taiwan’s economic growth could hit 2 percent or higher this year, but the average growth that the public is expecting is around 1.4 percent. Do You Want to Buy a House? Included in Cathay Financial’s survey are the public’s feelings and attitude toward buying real estate.

This month’s survey found that a majority (71.2 percent) of people believed it was “not the time to buy a house,” while only 17.8 percent of respondents said that it was the time to buy.

The main factor that would increase the public’s willingness to buy a house, according to Cathay Financial’s findings, is “a drop in real estate prices to a reasonable price range.”

This reason (at 34.1 percent) is followed by marriage and starting a family (at 27.9 percent).

The survey itself did not ask respondents to identify what this “reasonable price range” is, given the diversity in socio-economic levels of the respondents, but according to Yung-Ching Realty Group’s (永慶房屋) second quarter trend report, most consumers say the price needed to drop by another 10 percent before they would be willing enter the market.