Confidence in Taiwan’s economy weakened this month amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic after a cluster of confirmed cases related to a hospital in Taoyuan was reported, a survey released by Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) showed on Saturday.
The poll, conducted from Feb. 1 to Feb. 7, found that 38.6 percent of respondents said the local economy would improve over the next six months, while 30.3 percent said it would deteriorate.
The results translate into an economic optimism index of 8.3 this month, down from 18.8 last month, the survey showed.
The index on the economic outlook for the next six months also fell, to 15.7 from 24.4 a month earlier, it showed.
The weakening faith in the economy affected the willingness to buy big-ticket items, with the index on big purchases falling to minus-0.2 from 5.1, and the index on durable goods purchases fell to minus-9.6 from minus-7.1, the survey showed.
The index on the expectation of a wage hike within the next six months fell to 5.2 from 6.4 last month, as faith in the job market was dampened by COVID-19 fears, it showed.
The index on local employment over the next six months fell to minus-24.5 from minus-22.7, and that on the local equity market fell to 6.1 from 22.9, the survey showed.
However, the index on risk-taking rose to 17.6 from 16.8, it showed.
The survey also showed that respondents on average expected that the economy would grow 3 percent this year, unchanged from a survey in January.
Respondents expected that consumer prices would grow 1.41 percent, it showed.
The survey collected 20,329 valid questionnaires from Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) and Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) clients.
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