Fri, Mar 24, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Export orders surging on notebook and IC demand

FAST TRACK Export orders jumped 25.1 percent year-on-year last month, the fastest pace in 13 months, on the back of the 29.7 percent rise in electronics orders

By James Peng  /  BLOOMBERG

Export orders last month rose at the fastest pace in more than a year, led by demand for notebook computers and semiconductors.

Orders, a good indicator of shipments in one to three months, gained 25.1 percent from a year earlier after climbing 20.0 percent in January, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement yesterday.

Last month's pace was the fastest in 13 months and compares with a median forecast of a 27 percent gain in a Bloomberg News survey of 19 economists.

"The figures met our expectation that orders would keep rising," said Joan Yang, an economist at Yuanta Core Pacific Capital Management Co (元大京華投顧) in Taipei. "The electronics industry remained the main driver." Taiwan's economy expanded in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in 18 months as electronics exports jumped.

The increase in export orders was mainly driven by strong demand for notebook computers and microchips, the ministry's statement said.

Overseas orders for Taiwan's electronic goods, including semiconductors, rose 29.7 percent last month after climbing 29 percent in the previous month, the statement showed.

Orders for information technology and communications equipment jumped 43.2 percent last month after gaining about 58 percent in January.

The report partly reflects distortions caused by the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday.

Lunar New Year fell in January this year and in February last year. China, the biggest buyer of Taiwan's exports, lost as many as five working days in February last year to public holidays during the Lunar New Year.

Taiwan's export orders rose 7.7 percent in February last year.

Taiwan's export orders from Hong Kong rose 28 percent last month from a year earlier after gaining 9.7 percent in January, the report showed. Most Taiwan-made goods bound for China are shipped via Hong Kong because of transport restrictions between Taiwan and China.

Orders from the US rose 18.4 percent during the same period after increasing about 23 percent in January.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's industrial production increased 14.1 percent last month from a year earlier, according to the ministry. The gain was the biggest in 13 months and compared with a median forecast of a 14.4 percent gain in the Bloomberg survey.

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