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Taiwan retail sales forecast to hit record high this year

2010/12/24 15:19:04

Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's retail sales for 2010 are expectedto hit a record high on the back of a strong economic rebound, TheMinistry of Economic Affairs said Friday.

Beatrice Tsai, deputy director of the statistics department atthe MOEA, forecast that retail sales for 2010 will rise 6.4 percentfrom 2009 to NT$3.49 trillion (US$116.85 billion).

"Retail sales data is one of the major indicators of privateconsumption, " Tsai told the Central News Agency. " As the localeconomy is growing, we expect retail sales to hit a record high thisyear."

In November, retail sales totaled NT$299.9 billion, up 5.46percent from a year earlier, and the figure in December is expectedto reach NT$300 billion, Tsai said.

The falling jobless rate, which was at almost a two-year low of4.73 percent in November, and a booming local stock market hasboosted buying in the retail sector, she said.

Many retailers in Taiwan are expanding their operations byopening new stores, in anticipation of more business as a result oflarger numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan.

She said the implementation of the economic cooperation frameworkagreement (ECFA) signed by Taiwan and China in late June has alsoreinforced consumer confidence.

"With consumer confidence on the rise, sales of big-ticket itemsare rebounding, in particular car sales," Tsai said.

In the first 11 months of the year, car sales totaled around297,000 units and the number is expected to reach a four-year high of325,000 for the entire 2010, Tsai said.

In November, the government raised its forecast for the 2010gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 9.98 percent from a previousestimate of 8.24 percent

(By Lin Shu-yuan and Frances Huang)
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