Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) Taiwan’s consumer confidence weakened to some extent in September as consumers’ outlook of the local job market’s prospects over the next six months significantly worsened, a survey released by National Central University (NCU) on Monday showed.
The September consumer confidence index (CCI) fell 1.04 points from a month earlier to 74.39, the second consecutive month of decline, with four of the CCI’s six sub-indexes moving lower and the sub-index on employment suffering the steepest fall.
The CCI is an indication of the level of public confidence over the next six months in the areas of employment, family finances, consumer prices, the local economic climate, the stock market and the likelihood of purchasing durable goods such as cars and homes.
The sub-index that reflects consumers’ faith in the job market fell 3.65 from a month earlier to 65.8 in September, the steepest fall among the six factors, the survey found.
Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of NCU’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, said that while the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has shown signs of abating, a Level 2 alert for COVID-19 remains in place, and the service sector has yet to return to where it was before the pandemic hit.
With domestic demand still sluggish, “employment is still not ideal at this point in time,” Wu said.
In September, the sub-index for family finances posted the second largest drop of the six sub-indexes, falling by 3.35 from a month earlier to 87.
Meanwhile, the sub-indexes for consumer prices and the local economic climate fell 2.45, and 0.9 points, respectively, from a month earlier to 40 and 88.6, the survey found.
Bucking the downturn, the sub-indexes for confidence in the likelihood of purchasing durable goods and the stock market rose 2.1 and 2.0, respectively, from August to 116.15 and 48.8 in September, the survey found.
A sub-index score of 0-100 indicates pessimism, while a score of 100-200 shows optimism, NCU said, noting that optimism was seen in September only in the sub-index for the likelihood of purchasing durable goods.
Wu attributed the growing confidence in the likelihood of purchasing durable goods to the government’s plan to issue NT$5,000 (US$179) in stimulus vouchers to each citizen and permanent resident in October.
A family of three will get NT$15,000, which Wu believed could benefit sales of durable goods such as home electronics and information appliances in the coming six months.
Meanwhile, an indicator of timing for home purchases rose to 115.95, up 0.85 from a month earlier, according to another survey conducted by NCU and Taiwan Realty.
The NCU survey in September collected 2,888 valid questionnaires from local consumers aged 20 and over between Sept. 18 and Sept. 21. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.