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Consumer confidence edges lower after 2-month record high: NCU survey

TAIPEI--Consumer confidence in Taiwan edged lower in August after having reached record highs the previous two months, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday.

The latest consumer confidence index (CCI), compiled by the Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development at National Central University (NCU, 中央大學台灣經濟發展研究中心), fell 5.11 points to 83.06 in August, down from 88.17 in July.

All six sub-indices lost ground, with the sharpest decline seen in the sub-index for confidence in the stock market's prospects, which slid 11.8 points to 84.1.

Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), the center's director, attributed the slide to weakness in Taiwan's stock market since July 24, when the market's benchmark index closed at 9,527.54, the highest close in the second half of the month.

The index then steadily fell to a low of 9,085.96 on Aug. 8 and was struggling to make up ground at the time the latest survey was conducted from Aug. 19 to 21.

Wu said the market and the domestic economy were weighed down by global economic uncertainties, including concerns over potential deflation in the euro zone and its high unemployment rate, tensions in Iraq, conflict in Gaza and China's rising financial risks.

Confidence in the domestic economy also slid significantly, by 7.85 points to 77.4 in August, despite the country's improving economic indicators, according to the survey.

Confidence in family finances and domestic consumer prices declined 3.65 points and 1.35 points to 76.3 and 45.25 this month, the report showed.

Despite drops of 3.63 points and 2.35 points in August, the sub-indices for confidence in the job market and durable goods purchases stood at 108.37 and 106.95, respectively, the survey showed.

Based on the survey's methodology, scores of over 100 generally indicate optimism, while those under 100 signal pessimism.

The survey was conducted Aug. 19-21 via telephone interviews among 2,428 randomly selected people aged over 20. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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