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Mixed views on Taiwan's economic outlook

2012/05/22 19:57:39

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) Experts invited to an economic symposium held by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research expressed mixed views Tuesday on Taiwan's economic outlook for 2012.

Cheng Cheng-mount, an economist at Citibank Taiwan Ltd., expressed optimism toward the country's economy, despite the fact that Taiwan's exports in the first four months of the year fell 4.7 percent from the same period of last year to US$96.37 billion, while the value of export orders fell 3.52 percent in April from a year earlier.

"I'm still confident of Taiwan's performance in the second half of the year," said Cheng, adding that the country's economy will improve in line with other major markets.

All the major trading economies posted modest economic growth in the first quarter, with the United States recording 2.6 percent growth, China 8.1 percent, Japan 4.1 percent and Europe 0.1 percent, he said.

In addition, the U.S. is likely to experience an improved economy due to the presidential election there, while China's economic growth is expected to bottom out in the second quarter with a growth rate of 7.5 percent.

Even Europe, which is facing gloomy political and economic situations, is expected to see the European Central Bank take easing measures soon after an election in Greece, according to Cheng.

As for Taiwan, the electronic component industry is expected to be the main driver of the country's output in the second half of the year, on the back of launches of new information and communication technology products, he said.

However, Chiou Jiunn-rong, an economics professor at National Central University, held a more bearish view toward the local economy, citing the country's weak domestic demand, which he said will cast a shadow over the economic outlook.

"It is currently the government that is boosting and supporting the economy," he said, adding that Taiwan's economy is not likely to bottom out until the first quarter of 2013.

The country's exports, he said, are too focused on certain products that can be greatly influenced by business cycles and their own competitiveness.

(By James Lee)