Taiwan's GDP to top 4%: New economic planner
CNATAIPEI--Taiwan's new top economic planner expressed “cautious optimism” yesterday over the country's economic outlook, expecting gross domestic product (GDP) growth to exceed 4 percent and the unemployment rate to fall below 4 percent.
February 19, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
“You can call the goals my 'golden cross' of the two economic indicators,” said Kuan Chung-ming, the new head of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.
The Cabinet approved a national development plan late last December that aims to achieve 3.8-percent economic growth in Taiwan in 2013 and lower the jobless rate, which was 4.24 percent in 2012.
“I don't think there will be a problem,” he told reporters after being sworn into his Cabinet post earlier Monday. “It will not be difficult to achieve the 3.8-percent goal.”
A number of economic indicators supported Kuan's optimism. Taiwan's industrial production index rose for the sixth consecutive month in December, gaining 2.39 percent to 128.57, according to government statistics released Jan. 23.
Leading indicators, such as export orders and the purchasing managers index, also show a trend toward improvement in Taiwan's manufacturing sector, Kuan said.
But he cautioned that part of his confidence in achieving the goals stemmed from low baselines in 2012, and he stressed that the government still needed to restructure Taiwan's industrial base and further open its market.
“Although the growth rate may be easy to achieve, it is the long-term issues that we need to pay more attention to,” he said.
One of those issues is wages, which have remained stubbornly sluggish despite an economic rebound in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Asked if he anticipated gains in wages this year, Kuan said, “It is not something that can be done overnight.”