Thu, Sep 08, 2005 - Page 11 News List

August exports expand on strong regional demand

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AFP

Exports grew at their fastest pace in four months last month on continued strong demand from Hong Kong, China, Japan and Southeast Asia, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

Exports grew 7.6 percent year-on-year to US$15.86 billion last month, after a 5.3 percent rise in July to US$15.43 billion, the ministry said.

Imports last month rose 11.1 percent to US$15.43 billion, after a 9.7 percent increase to US$15.10 billion a month earlier, resulting in a trade surplus of US$429.3 million, the ministry said.

Hsu Kuo-chung (許國忠), director of the ministry's statistics department, said the nation's export momentum remains strong, although rising oil prices have greatly increased refiners' oil purchasing costs.

According to the ministry's figures, each barrel of crude oil was bought at an average of US$54.02 last month, a sharp 48.6 percent increase from a year ago. This helped the value of oil imports last month reach a record high of US$1.83 billion, up 82.6 percent year-on-year.

"We are confident that the nation will continue to show a trade surplus next month," Hsu said at a press briefing.

Exports during the first eight months of the year rose 6.7 percent year-on-year to US$120.95 billion while imports increased 11.2 percent to US$119.78 billion, with the trade surplus standing at US$1.17 billion, down 79.1 percent from a year earlier.

Exports to Hong Kong and China last month amounted to US$6.07 billion or 38.3 percent of total exports, while exports to the US reached US$2.53 billion or 15.9 percent of the total.

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