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Taiwan lowers forecast for 2013 GDP growth (update)

Taiwan lowers forecast for 2013 GDP growth (update)

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Taiwan has lowered its forecast for economic growth in 2013 to below 3 percent after first quarter growth fell far below expectations. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) on Friday predicted GDP growth of 2.4 percent this year, substantially lower than its previous growth projection of 3.59 percent made on Feb. 22. Taiwan grew at a 1.67 percent clip in the first quarter, the DGBAS said, well short of the 3.26 percent growth it predicted for the January-March period in February. Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch and Council for Economic Planning and Development head Kuan Chung-ming both said earlier this month that it would be hard for the economy to grow 3 percent or more this year because of the uncertain international economic situation. Kuan had said as recently as mid-February that Taiwan's economy would grow at least 4 percent and its unemployment rate would fall below 4 percent in 2013. The country's seasonally adjusted jobless rate in April was 4.19 percent. Also on Friday, the DGBAS adjusted its GDP growth rate for Taiwan in 2012 to 1.32 percent, up from a previous 1.26 percent. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said Friday after the forecast was announced that it has taken measures to boost domestic consumption and exports that will likely produce results in the second half of the year. The export-boosting measures include inviting more foreign buyers and expanding the scale of procurement meetings, the ministry said. Domestic consumption will get a boost, the ministry said, from a three-month subsidy campaign starting in June promoting the purchase of energy-efficient water heaters, gas stoves and motors. Expressing optimism, the ministry predicted improvement in the local economy beginning from the end of the second quarter. It also pledged to closely monitor global economic developments and take responsive action. But asked if the government would postpone increases in electricity rates scheduled for October in view of the weakening economy, the ministry said it would stick to the plan.
The increases were originally slated to be imposed in December last year, but were postponed because of the weak economy. Gordon Sun, director of the macroeconomic forecasting center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, also expressed confidence in the local economy, citing improving economic indicators. Although export orders in April contracted 1.1 percent from a year earlier to US$35.69 billion, the situation is improving after 14.5 percent and 6.6 percent drops in February and March from their 2012 levels, respectively, Sun said, citing government statistics. Exports in the first four months of the year posted positive annual growth of 1.3 percent and are likely to maintain an upward trend, he added. (By Lin Hui-chun, Lilian Wu and James Lee)


Updated : 2021-04-16 11:22 GMT+08:00