The nation's exports posted double-digit growth again last month, with outbound shipments rising 14 percent year-on-year to US$22.59 billion. However, the growth rate was slower compared with March's year-on-year growth of 22.8 percent, statistics released by the Ministry of Finance showed yesterday.
Annual growth in exports of machinery and electronics products last month slowed to 7.1 percent and 15.5 percent respectively, compared with 24.8 percent and 39.9 percent in March, the ministry’s tallies showed.
The ministry said exports to neighboring countries also declined last month.
Exports to China, which accounted for 23 percent of Taiwan’s outbound shipments in March, fell to 15.7 percent last month.
“The export growth in April was lower than market estimates. However, as the growth in March was higher than expected, the figure for last month fell back to its normal level,” Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), a vice president and chief economist at Citibank Taiwan, said by telephone yesterday.
Imports last month surged 17.7 percent to US$21.59 billion (NT$658.3 billion) from a year ago, the second-highest level since March, after expanding 37.3 percent to US$24.08 billion in the preceding month.
The trade surplus last month amounted to US$1 billion, down 32.2 percent, or by US$470 million, from a year ago, the ministry’s tallies showed.
The market was expecting last month’s exports and imports to grow by 18 percent and 25 percent respectively from a year ago, while Citibank’s estimates were 21 percent and 25 percent respectively, Cheng said.
“Last month’s results indicated that demand from other Asian countries had started to weaken — proof of a slowing global economy,” Cheng said.
Cheng said that he expected the nation’s export growth to decline in the second half of this year.
In the first four months of the year, exports totaled US$82.26 billion, up 16.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports rose 23.7 percent to US$82.26 billion, the ministry’s data showed.