Thu, Aug 24, 2006 - Page 12 News List

MOEA reports slower-than-expected July export orders

BLOOMBERG

The nation's export orders unexpectedly grew at a slower pace last month for a second straight month, as higher energy prices and rising interest rates curbed overseas demand for computers and semiconductors.

Export orders, indicative of actual shipments in one to three months, rose 19.44 percent after increasing 20.61 percent in June, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. That compared with a median 23 percent gain forecast of 17 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

The nation's dependence on exports, which account for about half of the economy, makes it vulnerable to swings in overseas demand.

The nation's economy slowed in the second quarter as rising credit card debt hurt consumer spending, and the government reduced a forecast for full-year expansion.

"The thing that's really been driving the Taiwanese economy has been the external sector, so this does add downside risk to our outlook" for the economy, said Daniel Hui, an economist at JPMorgan & Chase Co in Hong Kong.

Chang repeated a forecast of average 15 percent growth in monthly export orders this year. Orders surged an average 21 percent in the first seven months, Bloomberg data shows.

Industrial production increased 7.91 percent last month from a year earlier after climbing a revised 5.8 percent in the previous month, the ministry also said.

That compares with the 8.9 percent median forecast in the survey.

Orders for electronics including semiconductors rose 19.94 percent last month from a year ago after climbing 22.15 percent in the previous month. Orders for telecommunications products advanced 16.84 percent after climbing 18.65 percent in June, the statement said.

"Higher energy costs and interest rate increases cut Taiwan's exports to Europe and the US," Chang Yau-chung (張耀宗), statistics chief at the ministry, said at a briefing in Taipei.

US orders rose 17.07 percent last month from a year earlier after increasing 20.21 percent in June, the bureau said.

Orders from Japan climbed 9.02 percent after increasing 4.83 percent a month earlier, and those from Europe rose 18.58 percent after advancing 29.68 percent in June, the report showed.

Orders from Hong Kong rose 31.53 percent, little changed from 31.07 percent reported in the previous month, according to the statement.

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