Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Industrial production continues to show improvement

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation’s industrial production continued to show improvement last month, falling 11.35 percent from a year earlier, following a decline of 18.42 percent in the previous month, data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed yesterday.

The decline in industrial production for last month represented the fifth consecutive month of improvement, as well as the best performance since October last year, when it fell 12.46 percent, according to the ministry’s tallies.

The ministry said in a press release that industrial production recovered last month by 5.8 percentage points from the previous month mainly because of consumers’ increasing purchases of electronics products.

It also came as local manufacturers in the semiconductor, flat-panel, petrochemical and steel sectors expanded their production in response to companies restocking their inventories.

“Taiwan’s industrial production continued to show solid recovery in June. This was expected, as data released earlier on exports and wholesale trade indicated that the manufacturing sector is regaining its strength at a rapid pace,” Tine Olsen, an economist at Moody’s Economy.com based in Sydney, said in a statement yesterday.

According to the ministry’s latest report, output from the manufacturing sector, the biggest component of overall industrial production, fell 11.5 percent from a year earlier.

Architectural engineering posted the biggest decline of 16.79 percent from a year ago, followed by the mining sector’s 12.7 percent fall, the ministry’s data showed.

As the nation’s unemployment rate hit a record high last month, which may drag on the growth in retail sales and other domestic-­oriented sectors, Olsen said a recovery in the industrial sector was vital to help Taiwan’s economy recover.

On Wednesday, the government’s statistics bureau said Taiwan’s unemployment rate surged to a record 5.94 percent last month, with 647,000 people out of a job.

“Increased activity in the manufacturing sector will improve demand for labor and reduce unemployment. Improved conditions on the labor market are necessary for the domestic economy to recover,” she said in the statement.

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