Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Export orders up 15.7 percent

GETTING BETTER The ministry said yesterday that the key industrial production index increased 9.61 percent and outshone the market prediction of 8.15 percent

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's export orders rose US$4.31 billion, or 15.69 percent year-on-year, to US$31.77 billion last month, bolstered by demand from emerging countries in Asia, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Exports of information and communication products, which grew US$1.18 billion, or 19.89 percent year-on-year, contributed the most to last month’s growth.

Export orders from January to last month rose US$16.24 billion, or 15.71 percent year-on-year, to US$119.57 billion, which the ministry called “mid-to-high growth.”

Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director of the ministry’s statistics department, said export growth slowed in the first four months of the year, with the trade surplus for the period falling 44 percent to US$4.3 billion a year earlier, possibly indicating a smaller contribution to the nation’s economic growth this year.

“However, the new government’s increased budget to help push public construction and private investments is expected to make up for the slowdown in export growth,” Huang told a press conference yesterday.

Concerning the appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar against the greenback, Huang said that the effects of the currency exchange rate on the nation’s export orders increased from a single digit percentage in the past, to double-digit figures since February.

“It is expected that the NT dollar/US dollar exchange rate will likely break through the 30 level in the mid-to-long term, which the government needs to pay close attention to,” Huang said.

The NT dollar closed yesterday NT$0.12 lower at NT$30.50 on the Taipei Forex Inc.

A Citibank Taiwan economist said the 15.69 annual growth rate of export orders last month was better than the market forecast of 12.3 percent and Citibank Taiwan’s estimation of 11.4 percent.

“As the nation’s export sector already showed signs of slowdown last month, the latest export order figures were better than the market expected,” Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), vice president and chief economist at Citibank Taiwan, said by telephone yesterday, citing slowing but still healthy demand from emerging Asian markets as the main driver of export orders.

Meanwhile, the ministry also said yesterday that industrial production improved last month, citing the key industrial production index, which increased 9.61 percent year-on-year and exceeded the market estimation of 8.15 percent and Citibank Taiwan’s forecast of 7.4 percent.

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