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Standard Chartered Taiwan 2015 GDP growth target unchanged

Standard Chartered Taiwan 2015 GDP growth target unchanged

Taipei, May 2 (CNA) U.K.-based Standard Chartered Bank said Saturday that it retains its forecast of Taiwan's 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.3 percent unchanged, although the country reported lower-than-expected economic growth for the first quarter. Tony Phoo, an economist of Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan, said that the country's economy will continue to get a boost from a plunge in international crude oil prices, which has helped many enterprises here cut their operating costs. The Standard Chartered Bank's 4.3 percent growth forecast was higher than a government estimate of a 3.78 percent increase issued in mid-February. In the January-March period, Taiwan's GDP rose 3.46 percent from a year earlier, lower than an earlier forecast of a 3.50 percent increase, in reflection of declines in both domestic demand and bilateral trade. The government said that Taiwan still outperformed South Korea and Singapore, the first-quarter GDP growths of which stood at 2.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, indicating that the local economy remains on the road to stable recovery. Phoo said that since Taiwan imports about 300 million to 330 million barrels of crude oil a year, cheaper fuel prices could help the country's economy. He said that despite the slower first quarter, Taiwan's GDP growth momentum will accelerate in the second half of this year so that it is possible that the 4.3 percent growth target will be achieved. Phoo said that cheaper crude oil prices have brought fuel prices in Taiwan lower so that the local consumer price index for the first quarter fell 0.6 percent from a year earlier, and the CPI could continue to trend lower in the second quarter. The economist said that since there are no concerns over any immediate inflationary pressure in Taiwan, it is possible that the local central bank will leave its key interest rates unchanged with the discount rate at 1.875 percent. The central bank has maintained its key interest rates intact for the 15th consecutive quarter. Phoo said that the central bank is unlikely to consider an interest rate hike until the first quarter of next year. The economist said he believes the current water rationing in certain areas of Taiwan due to a persistent drought will not impose an immediate impact on the country's economy, but if water shortages persist, it is possible that some manufacturers will scale back their investment plans, a move that will hurt the economy. (By Wu Ching-chun and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-25 03:55 GMT+08:00