《TAIPEI TIMES》 Consumer confidence increases slightly
People ride a motorcycle in Taipei’s Xinyi District on Tuesday last week. Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
STABLE JOB MARKET: National Central University said in a survey that employment expectations rose 3.4 points, although consumer prices declined due to oil prices
By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter
Consumer sentiment increased modestly last month as confidence in stock investments and economic growth, and other gauges — but not inflation outlook — rose, a National Central University survey showed yesterday.
The consumer confidence index registered 74.64 last month, increasing 2.66 points from a month earlier, the survey showed.
The gauge on stock investment had the biggest monthly increase of 5.8 points, as rallies in the TAIEX during the survey period from Feb. 18 to 21 pushed the confidence level higher, it said.
However, the index shed 18.4 points from a year earlier, indicating that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is lingering, although investors have regained some confidence, said Dachrahn Wu （吳大任）, director of the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which conducted the survey.
The TAIEX surged to record highs at the end of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, but declined last week after 10-year US Treasury yields surpassed 1.5 percent due to market concerns over inflation.
The measure on the nation’s economic outlook rose 3.65 points to 87.95, while the reading on household income increased 3.85 points to 90.65, the survey said, adding that interest in purchases of durable goods grew 0.6 points to 112.65.
Sentiment values of above 100 indicate optimism, while scores lower than that signal pessimism.
Equity rallies would prompt some investors to take their profits and generate a positive wealth effect, Wu said.
Taiwan’s economy has benefited from tech exports, which more than offset weak private consumption linked to international travel restrictions, Wu said.
Employment expectations rose 3.4 points to 66.35, thanks to a stable job market, the survey said.
The measure on consumer prices bucked the uptrend, declining 1.3 points to 43.15 due to cheaper oil prices and discounts offered by the tourism and hospitality sectors to stimulate consumption, it said.
Global quantitative easing and record-low internet rates are bound to spur inflation, a trend that might become more evident as the world emerges from the pandemic this year, Wu said.
The survey polled 2,845 adults by telephone last month. It has a margin of error of 2 percent.