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TIER urges gov't to reward firms that give pay hikes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government should provide incentives for enterprises that give their employees salary rises, in order to stimulate domestic demand, the head of an economic research institute said Wednesday.

David Hong, president of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), said at a press conference to announce the results of a monthly survey on economic movement that the government should not only pay attention to foreign demand but also to domestic consumption, which includes encouraging companies to grant pay hikes.

The November survey found that the business climate gauge for the manufacturing sector posted a decline for a third consecutive month, while that for the service sector showed a drop for the fourth month in a row and the construction sector saw a rise for a second consecutive month.

Hong said that at present, while the U.S. economy is continuing a slow but steady recovery and the European economy is picking up, the performances of major economies in Asia, including China and Japan, are relatively sluggish, due mainly to political unrest, natural disasters and volatile financial markets in the region.

Since Asia is Taiwan's major export market, economic situations in the area could affect exports, particularly in the petrochemical, steel and precision machinery sectors.

In its monthly report, the institute said that an increasing number of local manufacturers polled in November were bearish about their outlooks for the month, while the number of those who were bullish about the next six months also increased, mainly because they were more optimistic about the economy in 2014 thanks to the economic recovery in the U.S. and Europe.

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