Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Export orders up 20%

STABLE GROWTH Export orders rose on a year-on-year basis, but dropped month-on-month due to the long Lunar New Year break

AFP AND BLOOMBERG

Export orders, a good indicator of actual shipments in one to three months, last month fell 11.2 percent to US$22.11 billion from December, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

However, on a year-on-year comparison basis, the figure last month was up 20.0 percent, albeit slightly lower than December's year-on-year rise of 24.2 percent, the ministry said.

China lost as many as five working days in January and February due to public holidays to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which started this year on Jan. 30. That may have prompted Chinese companies, the biggest buyer of Taiwanese exports, to reduce orders in the lead-up to the holiday period.

"Growth slowed because orders from the mainland were relatively few," said Vickie Hsieh, chief economist at President Securities Corp (統一證券). "Companies didn't want to hold big inventories during the Lunar New Year holiday."

Export orders for information technology and communications products last month totaled US$4.75 billion, up 57.9 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Electronics products orders totaled US$5.01 billion, up 29.1 percent year-on-year. Electronics account for the biggest share of Taiwan's exports, which represent about half of the nation's gross domestic product.

Taipei-based Acer Inc, the world's fourth-biggest supplier of personal computers, said on Feb. 10 its sales in January rose 12 percent from a year earlier, down from a 19 percent increase in December. The company got about 90 percent of its revenue from overseas markets.

Sales growth at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world's largest supplier of made-to-order chips, slowed to 26 percent last month from 38 percent in December. Almost 90 percent of the chipmaker's sales came from the US, Japan and Europe.

"Growth in Taiwan's export orders may slow a bit in the first half, as the demand for electronics has fallen from its peak of the rebound cycle," said Renee Chen, an economist at Citibank Taiwan, before the report was released.

The ministry said export orders last month from the US were up 22.7 percent year-on-year to US$6.11 billion, while orders from Europe were up 29.6 percent during the same period to US$3.89 billion.

Orders from Hong Kong last month rose 9.7 percent year-on-year to US$4.97 billion, while orders from Japan increased 33.9 percent to US$2.64 billion.

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