Taipei, July 19 (CNA) Less than 10 percent of respondents in a recent survey expressed confidence that Taiwan's economic growth will pass 2 percent this year, Cathay Financial Holding Co. (國泰金) said on Wednesday.
Cathay Financial cited the survey in which only 7.9 percent of polled consumers in Taiwan believe gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2017 will reach 2 percent.
The survey results indicate that public confidence in the local economy is relatively weak, despite the fact that several local economic think tanks have raised their forecast for GDP growth to more than 2 percent.
Among the upbeat think tanks, Academia Sinica, the top academic research institute in Taiwan, said on Wednesday that it has upgraded its forecast of GDP growth from 1.68 percent to 2.18 percent, making it the most optimistic research institution about Taiwan's economic outlook.
Although the government upgraded its economic growth forecast from 1.92 percent to 2.05 percent in May, that has failed to boost public confidence.
According to the survey released by Cathay Financial, 31.1 percent of respondents said GDP will grow by 1.75-2 percent and 17.9 percent expect growth to be 1.5-1.75 percent.
The survey showed that 11.1 percent of respondents said GDP growth will be 1.25-1.5 percent, while 16.3 percent felt 1-1.25 percent was more likely and 15.7 percent pointed to growth below 1 percent.
Nevertheless, Cathay Financial said that 56.9 percent of respondents agreed the local economy would grow by a minimum of 1.5 percent this year, higher than the 49.8 percent and 50.3 percent recorded by similar polls in May and June.
The survey showed that 24.5 percent of respondents felt Taiwan's economy will improve over the next six months while 38.5 percent said economic fundamentals will deteriorate, which translated into an economic optimism index for the next six months as of July of minus 14, compared with minus 8.6 in June. Meanwhile, 21.7 percent of respondents agreed that the local economy performed better over the past six months, and 39.9 percent said economic fundamentals fared worse in the past half year, which translated into an optimism index for current economic conditions of minus 18.2, compared with minus 12.9 last month.
In the survey, 42.4 percent of respondents expected the weighted index on the local main board to range between 10,000-10,500 points in the second half of the year, while 31.4 percent said the index could fall to 9,000 points, indicating fear the equity market could suffer a pullback after a recent strong showing.
The weighted index breached 10,000 points in May for the first time in 17 years and has since moved higher. On Wednesday, the index ended up 0.24 percent at 10,506.10 points.
The survey, conducted from July 1-7, collected 17,517 valid questionnaires online from clients of Cathay Life Insurance (國泰人壽) and Cathay United Bank (國泰世華), which are 100 percent owned by Cathay Financial.
(By Tien Yu-pin and Frances Huang) enditem/ AW/