Consumer confidence in Taiwan slides to 7-month low in May

CNA file photo

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Taiwan’s consumer confidence index (CCI) fell in May to its lowest level since late last year amid concerns about the stock market and the domestic job market, National Central University said Monday.

According to NCU, which compiles the monthly survey, the May CCI fell 1.28 points from a month earlier to 85.61, the lowest level since it was 83.34 in October 2017.

The CCI was also down for the second consecutive month, the university said.

Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of NCU’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, said cautious sentiment on stock investments and employment in Taiwan dragged down the May CCI.

The CCI comprises six sub-indexes that reflect the confidence people have in consumer prices, employment, family finances, the economic climate, the stock market and possible purchases of durable goods over the next six months.

In May, the sub-indexes for the six factors all moved lower, according to the university.

NCU said the sub-index for confidence in the local stock market suffered the steepest month-on-month decline of the six factors, falling 3.60 to 101.90 in May.

The sub-index gauging confidence in the job market had the second-biggest fall, registering a 1.45 point drop to 104.35 in May, while the sub-index on confidence in consumer prices fell 1.15 to 46.25, the university said.

The sub-indexes on family finances, possible purchases of durable goods, and the local economy also fell 0.60, 0.50 and 0.40 points, respectively, to 87.35, 91.65 and 82.15 in May, according to the university.

A sub-index score of between 0 and 100 indicates pessimism, while a score of above 100 indicates optimism, meaning that despite the drop in confidence in Taiwan’s stock market and job market, consumers were still generally upbeat about the two sectors, Wu said.

He cautioned, however, that the fall in the sub-index on consumer prices to its lowest level in nine months indicated that many consumers are concerned about inflationary pressures over the coming six months.

In April, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.98 percent from a year earlier, largely because of higher food and fuel prices, and it was up 1.65 percent higher year-on-year in the first four months of this year.

The CCI was compiled based on a survey conducted by the university. The survey, conducted May 19-23, collected 2,658 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 Tsai Yi-chu and Frances Huang)