Consumer confidence up for 2nd month, boosted by faith in stock market

The February Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) was at 84.69 points, up 1.06 points from January, indicated the survey made public by NCU’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Consumer confidence in Taiwan continued to climb in February following its rebound the previous month, with rising faith reflected in all six sub-indexes, according to a survey released Feb. 27 by National Central University (NCU).

The February Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) was at 84.69 points, up 1.06 points from January, indicated the survey made public by NCU’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development (RCTED).

The CCI gauges how confident consumers are based on six factors — employment, family finances, consumer prices, the local economic climate, the stock market and the likelihood of purchasing durable goods over the next six months.

Of the six factors, the sub-index for faith in the stock market posted the highest rise at 1.80 points to reach 95.60, followed by an increase of 1.15 points to 83.95 for local economic climate, and a 1.05 point rise to 48.10 in consumer prices.

Consumer confidence also improved in terms of the likelihood of durable goods purchases, family finances and employment in that order, the survey showed.

Confidence has been boosted by optimistic sentiment on the stock market, where the weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange passed the 10,000-point barrier after the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday that ended on Feb. 10, RCTED Director Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) said.

In addition, the increased possibility of a deal between the United States and China on their trade disputes has also helped ignite faith in stock investment in the near future, Wu said.

He also pointed out that 83.95 points on the local economic climate sub-index was the highest since July 2015, and the 89.50 points for family finances the second highest ever.

Furthermore, the “Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) Effect” continues to dominate in southern Taiwan, drawing massive crowds to the annual lantern festival there over the past week.

Han is the newly-elected mayor of Kaohsiung, who won the seat in the Nov. 24, 2018 mayoral election that ended the Democratic Progressive Party’s 20-year reign in the city and moved it into the Kuomintang camp.

One of the inspiring slogans Han used during his election campaign was “Goods will be sold, People will come in, Kaohsiung will make a fortune.”

Wu said the inflow of consumers “gives street vendors the impression that the economy is quite good.” Such optimism helped boost the CCI, he added.

Although there are signs of declining exports amid a global economic slowdown, Wu said as long as consumer confidence remains solid, Taiwan can expect economic development that is “cold on the outside and warm on the inside” this year, the economist predicted.

The random telephone survey was carried out Feb. 19-23. It collected 2,796 valid samples from adults aged over 20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.

By Pan Tzu-yu and Elizabeth Hsu