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Taiwan Consumers More Upbeat on Economy

Taiwan Consumers More Upbeat on EconomyTaiwan Consumers More Upbeat on Economy

Confidence in Taiwan’s economy edged higher in September after the government said economic growth in the first half of the year was brisker than originally projected, according to a survey by Cathay Financial Holding Co.

Cathay Financial, one of Taiwan’s leading financial holding companies, said the more optimistic outlook toward the economy was also helped by upward revisions of projections for GDP growth for 2018 as a whole, CNA reported.

According to the survey, 18% of respondents said the economy had improved from six months earlier, while 47.5% said the economy was worse.

That translated into an economic optimism index figure for the economy of minus 29.5 in September, up from minus 29.7 in a similar poll conducted in August, when the index ended a five-month losing streak.

The economic optimism index for economic conditions over the next six months also rose to minus 28.8 in September from minus 31.5 in August, also ending five straight months of decline.

In mid-August, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics raised its forecast for Taiwan’s 2018 GDP growth to 2.69%, from an earlier estimate of a 2.60% increase made in May.

The upward revision followed a DGBAS report saying that Taiwan’s economy grew 3.10% in the first quarter and 3.30% in the second quarter, up from preliminary readings of 3.02% and 3.29%, respectively.

Cathay Financial’s survey for September was conducted from Sept. 1 to 7, after the DGBAS reports came out.

The improved outlook toward the economy was also reflected in a slightly more optimistic view of Taiwan’s labor market, though pessimism still reigned. The optimism index for the labor market for the next six months rose from minus 36.4 in August to minus 33.9 in September, Cathay Financial said.

The optimism index for the labor market also rose from minus 34.2 in August to minus 32.4 in September, the financial conglomerate said. The slight gain in confidence was also seen on the wage front.

A more upbeat mood toward the economy meant that consumers appeared more willing to spend, Cathay Financial said.

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