Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Export orders show slower yearly drop

‘SIGNIFICANT’: While the Ministry of Economic Affairs expects this year’s second half to be better than the first, an economist said Computex orders had skewed the picture

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Export orders grew 11 percent to US$27.94 billion last month from US$25.17 billion in May to post the smallest yearly decline of 10.91 percent in the past eight months, according to data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday.

In the first half of the year, accumulated export orders totaled US$139.96 billion, dropping US$42.48 billion, or 23.28 percent, from the same period last year, the data showed.

GROWTH EXPECTED

“The second half of this year will definitely be better than the first half,” Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director of the ministry’s statistics department, said at a media briefing, adding that strong growth in orders was expected next month and in September.

Orders from the country’s two largest export destinations, China and the US, came in at US$7.79 billion and US$6.44 billion respectively last month, registering yearly declines of 10.49 percent and 8.38 percent.

“The yearly decline [in export orders] to China was mostly driven by slowdowns in chemical products,” Huang said.

Orders from the US have returned to the US$6 billion level, “which is a significant development,” he added.

The ministry’s figures show annual growth of 2.93 percent to US$3.19 billion in orders from Japan, while orders from APEC countries grew 1.21 percent to US$2.67 billion.

“The only destination that is still suffering from the global recession seems to be Europe, where the year-on-year decline was 17.68 percent to US$4.46 billion in June,” Huang said.

Among the major export categories, orders for information and communications products increased 2.87 percent year-on-year to US$6.77 billion last month, the first positive growth rate since November last year. Precision product orders grew 1.58 percent from last year to US$2.57 billion, while electronics products fell 6.12 percent year-on-year to US$6.66 billion.

Tony Phoo (符銘財), Standard Chartered Bank’s chief economist in Taipei, did not share Huang’s optimism.

ROSIER

Phoo attributed last month’s rosier performance to orders received from the Computex trade show.

While the Computex orders were at the same level as last year, the figure for last month would have looked dismal if there had been no trade show orders, Phoo said.

“Moreover, purchasing teams from China really helped the Taiwanese panel industry,” he said.

Although export orders for last month were better than expected and this month’s orders are expected to continue showing positive month-on-month growth and smaller year-on-year declines, Phoo said that he was not sure whether Taiwan’s export-reliant economy was any closer to a full recovery.

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