Taiwan's international trade continued to expand as exports and imports both posted new highs last month, statistics released by the Ministry of Finance showed yesterday.
Exports and imports last month totaled US$21.18 billion and US$20.73 billion respectively, up 8.2 percent and 16.7 percent from the same period last year.
These led to a trade surplus of US$450 million, marking the 17th month in a row that the nation had recorded a surplus, Lee Li-shu (
But given higher imports, mainly caused by soaring oil prices, the trade surplus was down by US$1.35 billion, or 75 percent year-on-year.
Crude oil imports last month reached US$2 billion, up 24.7 percent from the same period last year.
However, on a monthly basis, export growth last month slowed compared with an 11-percent rise in the previous month, after China, the nation's largest market, cut export-tax rebates on nearly 3,000 items to curb a record trade surplus and shipments to the US dropped.
Exports to China, including Hong Kong, rose 12.2 percent last month, slowing from the 14.6 percent increase in June, the government data showed.
Exports to the US last month fell 2 percent after gaining 5.6 percent in June. Those to Japan declined 7.8 percent after June's 4.4 percent drop.
Europe-bound exports increased 19.8 percent, faster than June's 17.8 percent growth, the ministry said.
"Global demand is increasingly driven by Europe," Frederic Neumann, an economist at HSBC Markets Ltd in Hong Kong, said in a note released yesterday.
Meanwhile, imports from the Middle East and Europe last month surged 36.2 percent and 27.2 percent respectively, the ministry's data showed. Imports from China and the US also increased 17.5 percent and 11.2 percent respectively.
By products, overseas shipments of electronics last month rose 2.7 percent, slower than June's 6.2 percent increase, the ministry said.
For the first seven months of the year, exports totaled US$135.1 billion, rising 7.6 percent from last year. Imports reached US$124.1 billion, up 7 percent. The resultant trade surplus during this period grew 14.9 percent from a year ago to US$10.99 billion.