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Think tank cuts 2016 national GDP growth forecast to 0.84%

2016/07/19 13:42:01

Taipei, July 19 (CNA) The Taipei-based Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER, 中經院) has lowered its forecast for Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2016, citing prolonged weakness in the country's exports amid a slow global economic recovery.

The economic think tank on Tuesday predicted growth of 0.84 percent for the year, down from a previous projection of 1.36 percent in April, and it also cut its forecast for economic growth in 2017 to 1.8 percent from 2.06 percent previously.

The CIER had predicted in March that Taiwan's GDP would grow 2.24 percent this year, but it cut its forecast to 1.36 percent in April as exports, which form the backbone of Taiwan's economy, continued to struggle.

CIER President Wu Chung-shu (吳中書) said Tuesday at a press conference that despite the stability of U.S. economic growth, the world economy is being dragged down by the weak economic growth in China, the euro area and Japan.

Taiwan's exports fell year-on-year in June for the 17th consecutive month, a slump even longer than during the global financial crisis that battered international trade in 2008 and 2009.

There are hopes exports could turn positive in the second half of the year, but with worldwide economic activity still sluggish, it is unclear how much of a boost Taiwan's economy can get from foreign trade in the near future.

Concerns exist that slow growth could become a normal pattern around the globe and in Taiwan, which grew at a 0.65 percent rate in 2015 and could see growth of less than 1 percent this year and less than 2 percent next year.

Asked about the low growth phenomenon, Wu said revising growth forecasts lower has become the trend among several international institutions, notably the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and think tanks in various countries.

Taiwan's official Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計總處) has cut its estimate for growth this year to 1.06 percent, from 1.47 percent in February, and several think tanks have lowered their forecasts for 2016 growth to below 1 percent.

The Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute (元大寶華研究院) predicted that Taiwan's GDP will grow 0.90 percent in 2016, while the Taiwan Research Institute (TRI, 台綜院) has projected growth of 0.92 percent.

The most downbeat forecast came from Academia Sinica (中研院), Taiwan's top academic research institution, which now expects growth of only 0.52 percent.

The Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院) is expected to release its revised forecast next week, after a previous growth projection of 1.27 percent.

(By Tasi Yi-yu and Evelyn Kao)