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September 20, 2017

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Confidence in local economy improving: survey

TAIPEI--Confidence in the local economy has shown signs of a slight improvement as various economic data points to a rebound, a survey conducted by Cathay Financial Holding Co. (國泰金) .

Citing the results of its monthly survey, Cathay Financial, one of Taiwan's leading financial holding firms, said that 22 percent of the respondents said they feel that the local economy will fare better over the next six months, while 41.2 percent said the economy will worsen over that period.

The results translate into an October optimism index toward the economy over the next six months of minus 19.2, slightly up from minus 19.4 recorded in September.

The rising confidence in the local economy came after the government reported that the composite economic indicators for August rose two points from a month earlier to flash a "green light," signaling a stable pace of growth, Cathay Financial said.

The financial holding company said that Taiwan, where exports account for 60 percent of gross domestic product, reported a 10.8 percent year-on-year increase in outbound sales of its high-tech firms for September, which also boosted the public's faith in the economy. The growth of electronics exports came largely from the launch of Apple Inc.'s latest iPhones.

Cathay Financial said that the U.S. Federal Reserve left its key interest rates unchanged in a policymaking meeting held in September, which also relieved many investors to some extent.

Amid rising confidence in the economy, 16.8 percent of the survey respondents said they expect their wages to rise over the next six months, compared with 14.6 percent recorded in the September poll.

In addition, Cathay Financial said that 9.6 percent of the respondents in the October survey said that the local job market will improve over the next six months, compared with 9.2 percent in the September survey.

The financial holding firm said that 17.1 percent of the respondents in the October survey said they would like to buy durable goods over the next six months, up from 15.5 percent in the previous poll, while 24.2 percent said that they were willing to buy big-ticket items such as cars and homes, up from 23.5 percent.

Cathay Financial said that the bolstered confidence in the local economy is expected to encourage consumers to spend, adding that it is possible that Taiwan's GDP will pick up in the second half of this year.

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