Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Export orders hit nine-month low, prognosis better

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation’s export orders dropped 8.77 percent last month from the same time last year, reaching a new nine-month low of US$28.61 billion, data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed yesterday.

Accumulated January through July export orders totaled US$168.58 billion, decreasing US$45.23 billion, or 21.15 percent, from the same period last year, the data showed.

Despite the contraction, “July was the first time [that the nation’s] export orders to China broke the US$8 billion level and showed growth of 2.22 percent, compared with July last year,” Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director of the ministry’s statistics department, said at a media briefing yesterday.

Huang also estimates better monthly growth as well as better year-on-year growth as the year progresses.

“This year’s total export orders will reach US$310 billion,” the statistics director said.

Orders from the country’s second and third-biggest export destinations, the US and Europe, came in at US$6.22 billion and US$4.76 billion respectively last month, registering yearly declines of 12.51 percent and 14.56 percent.

“In terms of export categories, basic metals showed the most significant same-time decline of 25.1 percent to US$1.86 billion. Meanwhile, the biggest percentage decline was in machinery orders of 30.16 percent,” Huang said.

The ministry’s figures showed annual decreases of 3.65 percent to US$3.01 billion in orders from Japan, while orders from APEC countries dropped 3.09 percent to US$2.85 billion.

Among the major export categories, precision product orders grew 17.39 percent from last year to US$2.75 billion, while electronics products and information and communications products fell 7.97 percent and 3.64 percent year-on-year to US$6.93 billion and US$6.56 billion respectively.

The ministry also released yesterday last month’s industrial output statistics, which dropped by 8.11 percent from a year earlier, but increased by 4.98 percent from June.

From January to last month, the accumulated output decreased by 21.93 percent from that of last year.

Huang said he also expected industrial production to improve this month as well as for the rest of the year, as shown by the Statistics Department’s outlook consensus measure, which is called “movement of industrial output index.”

Citigroup Taiwan Inc chief economist Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂) was pleasantly surprised by export orders and industrial output figures for last month.

“The dollar value of export ­orders has reached a new high since November 2008, which means we are back to pre-financial crisis levels,” Cheng told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.

Although Cheng said that Taiwan could in the third still experience some negative year-on-year numbers, he expects steady quarterly improvement of about 10 percent from the second quarter.

As to domestic industrial output, “this number is slightly different from export orders because it primarily focuses on manufacturing. Even so, the index is back to the level witnessed on Sept. 20, 2008,” Cheng said.

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