Market watchers yesterday said a prediction by Taiwan's top trade official that July exports may plummet as a result of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was off the mark.
Board of Foreign Trade (BOFT) Director-General Huang Chih-peng (
"It's a bold estimation," Mike Lin (
Lin said although the outbreak of SARS had forced a fair amount of business activity to be cancelled or delayed, the impact on the IT industry is limited to the promotion of new products. Orders of popular products and components should remain steady, he said.
According to the Ministry of Finance, IT exports in March accounted for 10 percent of total exports. For the first three months of this year, export orders rose 10.17 percent to US$37.67 billion from a year earlier, the ministry reported late last month.
Wu Chung-shu (
"The production of export goods won't be hurt that much as long demand is stable," Wu said.
Another economist, Chang Yaw-tzong (張耀宗) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Department of Statistics, said that exports may dip, but foreign orders for postwar construction in Iraq may offset that drop somewhat. In addition, Taiwan has already seen some orders from SARS-hit regions such as China and Vietnam transfer to Taiwanese manufacturers, Chang said.
Huang's pessimistic forecast, however, was supported by another industry watcher yesterday.
Tsai Horng-ming (