Overseas trade showed solid growth last month as exports and imports both recorded double-digit increases, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
Exports topped US$18.1 billion last month, the fourth-highest figure in history, boosted by the rising export volumes of electronics, optical instruments and machinery.
Exports grew by 16.5 percent from a year ago.
Among them, sales to Hong Kong, China, ASEAN member nations and South Korea grew by over 16 percent last month.
Sales to Europe, Japan and the US rose by 13.7 percent, 12.9 percent and 5.8 percent respectively, Lee Li-shu (李麗雪), director of the ministry's statistics department told a press briefing.
Imports also recorded their second-highest level -- US$16.88 billion -- an increase of 12 percent from a year ago, due to soaring costs of crude oil imports from the Middle East and African countries.
Increasing imports of electronic parts, chemical products and precision instruments also drove growth of the import value.
These translated to a surplus of US$1.22 billion, jumping by 166 percent from last year, the ministry's data showed.
Exports and imports for the second quarter both set new records to register US$55.8 billion and US$51.5 billion, respectively, Lee said.
The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics had earlier predicted that the third quarter's trade performance would be weaker than that of the second quarter.
The ministry, however, thinks otherwise.
Lee said growth rates for overseas trade during the second half of the year, the traditional boom season, are expected to surpass those of the second quarter as the jobless rate is dropping and inflation remains under control.
For the first six months of the year, exports reached US$106.01 billion, up by 12.9 percent from a year ago. Imports at the same time rose by 9.5 percent to a record US$98.26 billion.
The trade surplus for this period was US$7.75 billion, an 87.2 percent increase over last year, Lee said.