August 2023  
Navigating Uncertainties: Global Economic Dynamics in Flux
Insights from Within: Taiwan’s Possible Economic Rebound as Evidenced by TIER's Survey
Analyzing recent global economic conditions, international credit rating agencies have downgraded the credit ratings of several regional banks in the United States. Additionally, certain major real estate developers in China are facing liquidity issues, intensifying risks within the financial markets. Following two consecutive months of decline, industrial production and capacity utilization in the United States rebounded in July. Moreover, both the manufacturing new order indices for the United States and China showed improvement in July compared to June, indicating a positive trend in the manufacturing sector's outlook compared to the preceding months. In Taiwan’s domestic manufacturing sector, as the electronic industry’s peak season approaches, there has been a resurgence in exports of technological products, external orders, and production performance compared to the previous month. However, traditional industries are grappling with subdued end-demand, resulting in a continued decline in their performance. Nevertheless, the extent of decline has narrowed compared to the previous month, leading manufacturing companies to express noticeably improved perceptions about the current month’s economic performance compared to the prior survey. According to the survey results from the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), after model calculations, the Manufacturing Composite Indicator for July reversed its previous three-month downward trend and began to rise. While the Service Sector Composite Indicator continues to show an upward trajectory, the magnitude of the increase is limited. Therefore, it’s assessed that the service industry's perception of the economic outlook remains unchanged compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, the Construction Sector Composite Indicator exhibits a second consecutive month of improvement. ...Read more
Taiwan experts recommend minimum wage hike of at least 2%
When a committee meets next month to decide on changes to the minimum wage for 2024, it should agree on an increase of at least 2% due to inflation, experts said on Aug. 23rd. The Ministry of Labor (MOL) said on the same day that it had sent invitations for the Basic Wage Committee to meet on Sept. 8th. The group consists of academics and representatives of business groups, labor organizations, and government. Since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, each year has seen a minimum salary hike. The most recent increase took the monthly wage to NT$26,400 (US$827) and the minimum hourly wage to NT$176. While employers often resist any hike at all, this year looked different because of inflation staying above 2%. A wage hike of up to 3% was acceptable because it would help relieve job shortages in the services sector, said General Chamber of Commerce Chair Paul Hsu. However, Third Wednesday Club Chair Lin Por-fong set 2% as the maximum because of the weakening economy. Government departments and private think tanks cut their forecasts for Taiwan’s economic growth in 2023 to less than 2% as sluggish global demand cut into exports. Economists predicted a wage hike ranging from 2.1% to 3% due to inflation, though representatives of the manufacturing and technology sectors were likely to argue in favor of a more modest rise due to their sluggish performance this year. Experts and scholars said the condition of services and high-tech sectors was completely different during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, services are flourishing, while technology has to cope with weak demand and large inventories. However, as even tech firms predict their situation will pick up during the final quarter of 2023, there should be room for a higher minimum wage increase to benefit the lowest paid workers (Source: Taiwan News).

Industrial production trends downward for 14th straight month in July (Source: Focus Taiwan).
AI demand eases industrial dip (Source: Taipei Times).
Taiwan Economic Research Monthly
Gender and the Ocean: Drawing Insights from Canadian Practices
Efforts to achieve gender equality in maritime domains have been ongoing through international organizations and agreements. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) launched a gender program in 1988 to address gender disparities, especially when few maritime training institutions admitted women. The IMO's "Women in the Maritime Sector Project" aimed to rectify this. In 2006, the International Labour Organization adopted the Maritime Labour Convention, which eliminated gender-biased terms and assumptions that all seafarers were male, explicitly prohibiting gender discrimination and boosting female hiring. However, despite global advocacy and measures, women's practical advancement and decision-making power in maritime affairs remains limited. Canada, a leader in women-related matters, has been a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) since 2017. The 2020 World Bank report identified eight countries, including Canada, where women have equal rights. Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) oversees the marine sector, safeguarding waters and resources while providing safe and efficient maritime services. To enhance gender equality, DFO established a Gender Equality Expert Panel in 2018, driving initiatives to foster a more diverse, inclusive, and respectful maritime work environment through seminars and workshops.
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