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Standard Chartered maintains forecast for local GDP growth

TAIPEI -- Standard Chartered Bank maintained its forecast yesterday for Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2014 amid an improving global economy.

“Recent trends in major data suggest that 2014 growth prospects are improving, aided mainly by a recovery in demand in major overseas markets,” Tony Phoo, a Taipei-based economist at the bank, said in a statement in which he maintained the country's growth forecast at 3.9 percent.

The current growth recovery gained further momentum in the first quarter, Phoo said, citing improving export growth, a rise in overseas orders and industrial production gains.

Several leading local producers of semiconductors, integrated circuits, printed circuit boards, notebook computers and motherboards reported strong gains in March sales revenue. This, Phoo said, is clear evidence that the launch of new tech gadgets, as well as integrated and wearable mobile devices, has helped boost overall export sales of related electronics parts and components.

In addition, domestic consumption has shown increasing signs of a pick-up as well. Car sales rose 9.7 percent during the January March period from a year ago, a sharp rebound from a contraction of 4.2 percent registered for the whole of 2013.

Consumer confidence is also improving, having been on a steady upward path since 2013, aided mainly by expectations of higher household incomes and optimism over the job market outlook, the economist said.

With the unemployment rate likely to fall below 4 percent in 2014 and real wage growth expected to rise, consumer spending is expected to continue to improve in the coming months, said Phoo.

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