Wed, Sep 24, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Export-order growth slows for third straight month

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan’s export-order growth slowed to a single digit for a third consecutive month last month as demand from China weakened, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Export orders rose 5.38 percent year-on-year to reach US$32.13 billion last month, after July’s 5.52 percent gain. Growth last month was higher than Citigroup’s estimate of 3.9 percent.

Orders from China and Hong Kong dropped by 8.86 percent last month, following July’s 1.73 percent gain.

The last time Taiwan saw a negative growth rate in Chinese orders was in February 2002, with a drop of 5.01 percent.

“Export growth appears to be slowing down. I think the weakening Chinese orders in August had to do with China’s post-Olympics economic slowdown, but we will still have to see how it goes in September and October,” Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), vice president and economist of Citigroup Taiwan, said by telephone yesterday.

“Overall, the August figures were not too bad,” Cheng said.

Orders from the US rose 2.18 percent last month, down from 3.21 percent in July, while orders from Europe and Japan remained strong last month, with rises of 11.39 percent and 22.38 percent respectively from a year earlier.

During the first eight months, export orders rose 11.9 percent year-on-year to US$245.94 billion.

Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director of the ministry’s department of statistics, said yesterday he expects to see average monthly export orders of US$31 billion in the next four months.

Total export orders are expected to fall between US$366 billion and US$370 billion this year, he said.

The nation’s industrial production growth also slowed last month to edge up 0.41 percent from a year earlier, after rising 1.79 percent in July.

“Based on the industrial production growth in July and August, it would be very difficult for the nation’s GDP to exceed 3 percent in the third quarter,” Cheng said.

The government forecast a 3.04 percent GDP growth for the three months between July and September.

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