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Consumer confidence suffers month-to-month drop: poll

2011/03/01 17:41:13

Taipei, March 1 (CNA) Consumer confidence in February droppedfrom the previous month's 10-year high, according to the results of auniversity-sponsored survey released Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) , compiled by the ResearchCenter for Taiwan Economic Development at National CentralUniversity, fell 0.89 points from January's 86.78 points to 85.89points.

Of the six indices covered in the survey, the sub-index onconfidence in the timing for stock market investments over the nextsix months posted the biggest decrease of 9.60 points, falling to92.80 points.

Local stock investors had a lower level of confidence after theoutflow of foreign capital dragged down the stock market followingthe Lunar New Year holiday, said Hsu Chih-chiang, the center'sdirector.

The sub-index on confidence in domestic consumer prices over thenext half-year fell to 50.35 points, down 7.70 points from theprevious month.

The sub-index hit a new low since April last year on the back ofsoaring consumer prices caused by higher prices of raw materials andcrude oil, as well as rising domestic demand amid the recoveringeconomy, Hsu said.

The sub-index on confidence in the local economy over the nexthalf-year shed 0.05 points to 89.80 points.

Meanwhile, the sub-index on confidence in the timing for durablegoods purchases over the next six months posted the biggest increaseof 10.80 points to 103.90 points for the month.

Hsu explained that in February, people tended to buy housing,vehicles and other durable goods as they were pessimistic aboutinflation amid rising consumer prices.

However, he pointed out that the survey was conducted before thegovernment announced a plan to levy a luxury tax on speculativeproperty transactions, posh vehicles and other luxury items. As aresult, he predicted that the sub-index will decline in March.

The sub-index on confidence in the job market over the next sixmonths rose 0.90 points month-on-month to 96.75 points, the highestlevel since the center launched the index in January 2001.

On the record figure, Hsu said there were more job openings thanjob applicants after the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended in earlyFebruary.

The sub-index on confidence in household finances over the nextsix months rose 0.30 points from January to 81.75 points.

(By Lin Hui-chun and Alex Jiang)