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Taiwan employers raise bonuses as economy recovers
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Taipei, April 24 (CNA) The average annual bonus paid by employers in Taiwan prior to the last Lunar New Year holiday was higher than in the previous payment period, as the economy showed signs of strengthening, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Monday.

Year-end bonuses disbursed in the period from December 2016 to February 2017 averaged the equivalent of 1.58 months' salary, compared with 1.54 months' pay a year earlier, DGBAS data showed.

It was the second highest average annual bonus in six years after the 1.69 months' pay recorded in 2015, the DGBAS said, citing a recovery of the domestic economy.

Meanwhile, the average salary, which comprises regular wages, bonuses and overtime pay, rose 2.99 percent year-on-year to NT$69,442 (US$2,292) in the first two months of 2017, the DGBAS said.

After inflation adjustment, the real annual increase in average salaries for the first two months of the year was 1.89 percent, the DGBAS said.

In the two-month period, regular wages in Taiwan averaged NT$39,520 per month, up 1.62 percent from a year earlier, and after inflation adjustment, the increase was 0.54 percent, DGBAS data showed.

In February, the average salary was NT$45,720 per month, while the average regular wage was NT$39,362, up 1.88 percent from a year earlier, according to the DGBAS.

In Taiwan, employers usually pay annual bonuses in the three-month period leading up to the Lunar New Year holiday, and most of them did so in January this year, which accounted for a 50.91 percent drop in the average salary recorded in February, the DGBAS indicated.

It said annual bonuses were higher this year as the domestic economy began showing signs of improvement in second half of 2016 amid rising global demand that boosted Taiwan's exports.

In mid-February, the DGBAS raised its forecast for Taiwan 2017 economic growth from 1.87 percent to 1.92 percent.

Several think tanks have also revised their 2017 forecasts upward, citing improved exports, which account for about 60 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product.

Among them, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) last week raised its forecast by 0.38 percentage points to 2.11 percent for 2017. (Courtesy of CNA)