Fri, Jun 25, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Export orders fall amid Chinese cooling-off efforts

AGENCIES , TAIPEI

Export orders fell last month to US$17.25 billion from a record-high US$18.03 billion in April, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Export orders -- indicative of shipments in one to three months -- were up 25.88 percent last month from a year ago, compared with a 33.55 percent rise posted in April, the ministry said.

Last month's figure was less than expected as a government clampdown on industrial expansion in China cooled demand in the nation's biggest overseas market, an economist said.

"China's attempt to slow its economic growth will gradually affect Taiwan's exports," said Renee Chen, an economist at Citibank Taiwan.

The impact will become more pronounced in coming months, she said.

Slower export growth may prompt manufacturers to shelve expansion plans, making it harder for the 450,000 unemployed to find jobs. The government is counting on pickups in overseas sales and investment to achieve its 5.4 percent economic-growth forecast for this year.

In terms of products, export orders for electronic products last month increased US$1.31 billion from the same month last year, or an annual increase of 51.33 percent, to US$3.86 billion.

Those for information technology and telecommunications equipment increased US$120 million, or 4.3 percent, to US$2.83 billion last month.

The most orders were placed by the US, Hong Kong, Europe and Japan, in that order. Compared with the same month of last year, only Japan registered a slight decline of US$40 million, with everywhere else recording growth.

Export orders from US increased by US$1.2 billion to US$5.1 billion, orders from Hong Kong increased by US$1.4 billion to US$4.4 billion, while those from Europe increased by US$660 million to US$2.6 billion. Orders from Japan fell 2.9 percent to US$1.4 billion.

For the first five months, export orders amounted to US$81.5 billion, up 25.61 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, industrial output last month was up 4.2 percent from April and up 16.56 percent year-on-year, the ministry said.

Industrial output for the first five months of the year rose 14.44 percent year-on-year.

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