Tue, Jan 10, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Export growth accelerates

BLOOMBERG

Taiwan's export growth accelerated last month as a weaker currency and rising global demand for electronics fueled purchases of personal computers and semiconductors.

Overseas sales rose 15.4 percent from a year earlier to US$17.17 billion after gaining 10.7 percent in November, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance yesterday.

Companies such as Acer Inc, the world's fourth-biggest maker of PCs, are benefiting from a weaker currency and a rebound in demand for electronics.

Rising exports, which account for about half of the nation's US$305 billion economy, helped drive the fastest economic expansion in a year in the third quarter.

"Overseas demand for consumer electronics products remained strong," said Hunter Lee, an economist at Grand Cathay Securities Corp (大華證券). "The decline in the Taiwanese dollar made it more profitable to make and ship products from home."

The New Taiwan dollar fell 3.6 percent against the US dollar in the six months ended Dec. 31, and 1.6 percent versus the euro.

That has bolstered the competitiveness of local manufacturers such as Acer and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電).

Taiwan's exports of computer chips and other electronic parts rose 34.3 percent to US$4.55 billion after increasing 19.5 percent in November. Exports of information technology and telecommunications products fell 15.8 percent to US$919.4 million.

"Taiwan may see stable growth in exports in [this year] on healthy demand for information technology related products," Hsu Kuo-chung (許國鐘), statistics chief at the finance ministry, said at a press briefing.

Acer, which is seeking to overtake China's Lenovo Group Ltd(聯想) as the world's third-biggest computer maker, on Oct. 28 said it expects fourth-quarter sales to jump as much as 20 percent from the previous three months. About 90 percent of Acer's revenue comes from overseas markets.

Imports fell 10.9 percent to US$14.25 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$2.93 billion for the month, the ministry said.

For the full year, exports grew 8.8 percent to US$189.39 billion, the report showed. That compares with a 21 percent gain in 2004. Imports gained 8.2 percent last year to US$181.61 billion after rising 32 percent in 2004.

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