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Consumer confidence picking up: Cathay Financial poll

Taiwan consumers are more optimistic about the economy, and their willingness to purchase properties has increased, according to a consumer confidence survey released by Cathay Financial yesterday.

According to the firm, Taiwan's economy has for 10 months in a row flashed a blue signal representing sluggishness, the biggest losing streak since 2000 when the blue signal was given for 15 consecutive months. Yet, as exports surged last month, there is a chance the economic signal might have gone up a notch in September, Cathay said.

People's confidence level for the current economic situation has dropped for three months in a row to -64.2, while their confidence over the economy in the future has dropped to -40.6, Cathay said. Yet the margin of decline narrowed in September, indicating people are no longer as pessimistic about the economy as they were before, it said.

Yet people are still downbeat about the jobs market, Cathay said. Their confidence level for employment and a salary increase dropped to -65.7 and -19.7, respectively, the lowest ever since Cathay began compiling the survey, it said.

Home purchases, on the other hand, have become more popular among consumers, whose inflation concerns have driven them to value-retaining assets, Cathay said. That, coupled with signs home prices in Greater Taipei have weakened, has contributed to an increase in people's home purchase willingness level from -58.1 to -54.1, the highest in a year, Cathay said.

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