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Consumer confidence lowest in Greater China in the first quarter

BEIJING -- Consumer confidence in Taiwan remained the lowest in the Greater China region during the first quarter of 2014, according to a survey published in Beijing on Tuesday.

Taiwan scored 79.63 out of 200 in terms of consumer confidence, while the score for mainland China was 91.1, for Macau 85.99 and Hong Kong 84.3, according to the quarterly survey published by five universities in the region, including Taiwan's Fu Jen Catholic University.

The other four universities are City University of Hong Kong, Macau University of Science and Technology, Central University of Finance and Economics, and Capital University of Economics and Business, the last two of which are based in Beijing.

Taiwan's score increased by 2.14 points from the fourth quarter of 2013, but still remained the lowest in the Greater China region.

China saw a 0.2 point decrease from the previous quarter and Macau was down 0.33 points, while Hong Kong recorded a 0.4 point increase, the survey showed.

A score of over 100 indicates positive consumer confidence, while under 100 reflects negative levels, according to the universities.

Among the eight sub-indices, confidence in real estate purchases was Taiwan's top indicator with a score of 107.54, while confidence in consumer prices was the lowest (49.34).

Taiwan consumer confidence levels in stock market investment and durable goods purchases were 105.75 and 104.11 respectively, while confidence in employment was 84.07, the survey showed.

The outstanding performance of Taiwan's stock market in the first quarter of 2014 boosted consumer confidence in stock investment and made consumers more willing to invest in real estate and durable goods, said Shia Ben-chang, a professor at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei.

Shia also attributed the low confidence in consumer prices to Taiwan's stagnated wage growth over the past decade.

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