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Taiwan economy in 'slow expansion': economist

Taiwan economy in 'slow expansion': economist

Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Taiwan's economy continues to grow slowly despite the data showing a decline in two major indices in February, an economist said Monday. The monthly 5.7 percentage point slide in the purchasing managers index (PMI) to 47.8 percent in February and the 3.1 percentage point drop in the non-manufacturing index (NMI) to 50.8 percent reflected the slowdown of industrial and commercial activities in Taiwan last month, Wu Chung-shu (???), president of the Chung-Hua Institute for Economic Research (CIER), said. At a press conference Monday after the release of a CIER report, Wu said that prior to February the NMI had been expanding seven months in a row. The index's drop in February was mainly because of the reduction in the number of business days last month because of the six-day Lunar Year holiday, he said. The same applies to the PMI reading, which implied contraction in the manufacturing industry in February, Wu said. Taiwan's manufacturing sector "is still expanding" and "the economy is in slow expansion too," he said. PMI and NMI readings of under 50 percent represent contraction of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, respectively. The PMI is based on five major indicators - new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries, and the employment environment. The NMI is based on commercial activities (production), new orders, employment, and supplier deliveries. (By Chen Cheng-wei and Elizabeth Hsu)