Consumer confidence declines in September as employment prospects weaken

Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) Taiwanese consumer confidence weakened somewhat in September as consumers’ outlook on the local labor market outlook over the next six months deteriorated significantly, according to a published survey Monday by the National Central University (NCU).

The September Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) fell 1.04 points from the previous month to 74.39, the second consecutive month of decline, with four of the six CCI sub-indices falling and the the largest drop in employment sub-index.

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 buying. durable goods such as cars and houses.

The sub-index that reflects consumer confidence in the labor market fell 3.65 from the previous month to 65.8 in September, the largest drop among the six factors, according to the survey.

Dachrahn Wu (吳大 ä»»), director of the NCU’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, said that although the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has shown signs of slowing, a level 2 alert for COVID -19 remains in place and the service sector has not yet returned to where it was before the pandemic hit.

With domestic demand still sluggish, “employment is still not ideal at this point,” Wu said.

In September, the family finance sub-index posted the second largest decline of the six sub-indices, falling 3.35 from the previous month to 87.

At the same time, the consumer price and local economic climate sub-indices fell by 2.45 and 0.9 points respectively from the previous month to 40 and 88.6, according to the survey.

Against the slowdown, the sub-indices of confidence in the probability of buying durable goods and the stock market rose by 2.1 and 2.0, respectively, from August to 116.15 and 48.8 in September, according to the survey.

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 of probability of purchasing durable goods.

Wu attributed growing confidence in the likelihood of purchasing durable goods to the government’s plan to issue NT $ 5,000 (US $ 179) in stimulus bills to every citizen and permanent resident in October.

A family of three will receive NT $ 15,000, which Wu said could benefit sales of durable goods such as home electronics and information devices over the next six months.

Meanwhile, a calendar indicator for home purchases rose to 115.95, up 0.85 from the previous month, according to another survey by NCU and Taiwan Realty.

The NCU survey in September collected 2,888 valid questionnaires from local consumers aged 20 and over between September 18 and 21. It had a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.

(By Su Szu-yun and Evelyn Kao)

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