Export orders grew more slowly last month and industrial production fell as an economic slowdown in China, the nation's biggest overseas market, curbed demand for cellphones, flat-panel displays and computer chips.
\nOrders -- indicative of shipments in one to three months -- rose 26 percent from a year earlier to US$19.8 billion after climbing 30 percent in November, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement.
\nSlowing export growth will make it harder for the government to achieve its goal of expanding Taiwan's economy 5 percent this year. It's also hurting earnings at companies including Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) and Tatung Co (大同).
\nOverseas orders for electronic goods rose 23 percent to US$4.2 billion last month after gaining 36 percent the previous month. Those for information technology and telecommunications equipment increased 19 percent to US$3.8 billion after rising 16 percent in November.
\nChi Mei Optoelectronics, the nation's second-largest maker of flat-panel displays used in computers and televisions, on Jan. 7 said its sales last month fell 9 percent from a year earlier. The company on Dec. 23 cut its pretax profit forecast for last year by 39 percent to NT$18.4 billion (US$577 million).
\nTatung, the nation's fourth-largest electronics maker, last month lowered its profit forecast for last year by 26 percent to NT$6.36 billion. The announcement came after Chunghwa Picture Tubes (
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
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The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone