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Taiwan's economy grows robustly for 9th straight month in October

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Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's economy stayed in strong growth mode for the ninth consecutive month in October on the back of reviving domestic demand and an increase in sales in the retail and manufacturing sectors, according to the National Development Council (NDC).

Data compiled by the NDC showed the composite index of monitoring indicators, which reflects the existing economic situation, rose 1 point from a month earlier to hit 39 in October, flashing a "red light," which indicates strong growth.

The nine months of strong growth was the longest period of solid growth in the local economy since 1984 when the NDC began using the current calculation model consisting of nine factors.

The last longest duration of robust growth was in 2010 when a red light was flashed for four months in a row, according to the NDC.

In addition, the leading indicators that gauge the economic climate over the next six months also moved higher by 0.88 percent from a month earlier in October, providing more evidence of a better local economy, the NDC said.

The council uses a five-color system to gauge the country's economic performance, with blue indicating economic contraction, yellow-blue representing sluggishness, green signifying stable growth, yellow-red referring to a warming economy, and red pointing to an overheated or booming economy.

Wu Ming-hui (吳明蕙), head of the NDC's Department of Economic Development, said the latest data reflected people's fears over an outbreak of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases have eased because the number of new cases has been brought under control.

In October, Wu said, domestic spending got a boost from reduced concerns over COVID-19 as sales generated by the retail/wholesale and food/beverage industry and revenue posted by manufacturers flashed a red light in October, improving from a yellow-red light in September, with the sub-indexes for the two factors up 1 percentage point each from a month earlier.

However, the sub-index on merchandise exports fell one point from a month earlier in October, flashing a yellow-red light, compared with September's red light, Wu said.

The other six sub-indexes on the composite index of monitoring indicators, such as money supply, industrial production and non-farm payrolls flashed the same light in October as they did in September, the NDC said.

Commenting on the leading indicators, Wu said the gauge kept moving higher in October and the growth that month even beat September's increase of 0.78 percent, indicating the impact resulting from the pandemic has been subsiding.

According to the NDC, the leading indicators rose for four months in a row, and the growth during that period hit 2.58 percent.

Looking ahead, Wu said as industrial production and exports are expected to remain strong on the back of a continued global economic recovery, it is possible for the composite index of monitoring indicators to flash another red light in November.

Wu, however, cautioned a price spike in commodity items such as crude oil and wheat could boost inflationary pressure, while a newly detected COVID-19 variant, which the World Health Organization has named Omicron, could create uncertainty for the global economy.

Nonetheless, she expressed hope as a year-end buying spree is coming and a stronger Taiwan dollar is expected to fend off inflationary pressure.

"I still have faith in the local economy by the end of this year," Wu said.

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