Taiwan's trade surplus is expected to rebound to between US$6 billion and US$7 billion next year with a forecasted 10 percent growth in exports, Bureau of Foreign Trade Director General Huang Chih-peng (黃志鵬) said on Saturday.
According to government statistics, Taiwan's exports totaled US$172.23 billion for the first 11 months of this year, while imports amounted to US$167.36 billion, giving the nation a trade surplus of US$4.87 billion for the period, marking a year-on-year decline of 32.7 percent.
Noting that Taiwan actually registered a trade deficit for three of the first six months of the year, the bureau said that it is possible that the nation's trade surplus for the whole of this year could be as low as US$3 billion.
Asked by reporters about the rare decline in Taiwan's trade surpluses, Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) said recently that she is not concerned about the trend as it is "just a temporary situation."
Noting that exports have not diminished, Ho said that the recent decrease in trade surpluses is because of the rise in the total value of imports caused by sharp hikes in oil prices as well as the purchase from abroad of high-speed train carriages, machinery equipment and airplanes. She also said that the Taiwanese invested nearly US$1 billion in gold in the first 11 months of the year in expectation of surging prices.
According to the Industrial Development Bureau's estimates, overall imports will decrease next year as Taiwan can increase supplying DRAM, cellphones and chemical products to its own market, and the nation's trade deficit with South Korea is not expected to expand further.
Wu Hui-lin (吳惠林), a researcher at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台經院), said that in international trade there should be a balance between imports and exports over the long term and that excessive trade surpluses are not healthy.
He urged the public not to overreact to the decline in trade-surplus figures, saying that more attention should be paid to whether both exports and imports are registering growth.
To his understanding, Wu said, Taiwan has maintained a vigorous economy, with both its exports and imports growing.