Taiwan Experiences Worst Economic Crisis: Analysts

By Dong LIU, CND, 22 July 2001

[CND, 07/22/01] Taiwan is now experiencing its worst economic slowdown in almost three decades since the world’s first oil crisis in the early 1970s, said Wu Chung-shu, research fellow at Taiwan’s top academic body, Academia Sinica, AFP reported on Sunday.

Taiwan is stricken by its worst confidence crisis as more and more people seem to have lost faith in the leadership and its ability to weather the country through the recession, said Thomas Lee, a professor at National Chengchi University.

The lack of confidence in the island’s political future under the current government is already sending Taiwan’s capital and businesses to the mainland. It may further drag down the economy, analysts warned.

A poll conducted by the United Daily showed that as many as four in five respondents were unsatisfied with the performance of the current government. Another survey on consumer confidence rated Taiwan second to last in 13 markets in the Asia Pacific region, while the mainland got the highest score.

The Academic Sinica has projected a low growth rate of 0.73 percent for the second quarter. The 2001 growth projection has been lowered to 2.38 percent. The independent Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research expected only a 2.22 percent growth for the whole year, the lowest level since 1974.