Consumer confidence in March hits 11-month high

Taipei-Consumer confidence in Taiwan hit an 11-month high in March as investors' faith in the local equity market picked up significantly, National Central University (NCU) said on Monday, citing the results of a recent survey.

The local consumer confidence index (CCI) rose 1.88 points from a month earlier to 76.52 in March as four out of the six sub-indexes that make up the CCI improved, with the timing for investing in stock markets moving up the most by 5.4 points from a month earlier to 52.5.

Meanwhile, the level of public confidence over the next six months in the areas of family finances, the domestic economic situation, and employment moved up 1.3, 1.55, and 4.2 points to 91.95, 89.5, and 70.55, respectively.

However, assessments on the likelihood of purchasing durable hard goods and for domestic prices in the next six months moved down 1.05 and 0.15 points from February to 111.6 and 43, respectively, according to the survey.

Dachrahn Wu (???), director of NCU's Research Center for Taiwan's Economic Development (RCTED), said the declines in the two indicators were only slight.

The CCI survey published by NCU's RCTED measures consumers' expectations of the general economic situation in the coming six months.

An indicator above 100 signals a boost in consumer confidence toward the future economic situation, while a value below 100 indicates a pessimistic attitude.

Wu said that soaring commodity prices will be a big challenge for Taiwan this year, as massive liquidity last year has driven up the bulk commodity market, which could lead to a rise in consumer prices.

Noting that the recent sharp surge in the U.S. 10-year treasury bond yield has spurred concern over higher consumer prices, Wu said that if the U.S. adjusts its approach to monetary policy, prompting U.S. investors to withdraw money from world financial markets, this could have an impact on Taiwan's housing and stock markets.

Chu Yun-peng (???), an adjunct research fellow at RCTED, said that although the sub-index on the likelihood of purchasing durable goods slid slightly, it remained above 100, indicating an optimistic outlook for this area.

The NCU survey was conducted from March 18-21, collecting 2,832 valid questionnaires from local consumers aged 20 or older. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel