Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Export orders contract 11.96%

WEAKNESS Orders declined 1.12 percent on a monthly basis, ending six months of growth. Analysts said orders are likely to pick up with upcoming holiday shopping


The nation’s export orders declined at a faster-than-expected pace last month as consumers delayed buying new PCs ahead of Microsoft Corp’s launch of a new operating system, and tight component supplies curbed shipments of electronics made by local manufacturers, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Export orders contracted 11.96 percent, a decline of US$3.84 billion, to US$28.29 billion, from US$32.13 billion a year ago, according to data from the ministry’s statistics department.

On a monthly basis, that represented a decline of about 1.12 percent, ending six straight months of growth, the data showed.

“The latest data is slightly lower than my expectation,” Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), chief economist at Citigroup Taiwan Inc, said by telephone.

Cheng had projected that export orders might rebound to US$30 billion last month.

Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director of the ministry’s statistics department, said yesterday that “the decline [in August] should be brief as consumers may put on hold their purchase of new computers before Microsoft’s launch of Windows 7 in October.”

The weakness was reflected in local PC makers’ sales last month, Huang said. Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), the world’s biggest contract laptop maker, saw sales drop 2.1 percent year-on-year, or 3.1-perent month-on-month, to NT$60.05 billion (US$1.86 billion) last month.

“We are optimistic [about the outlook] ... It is very likely that the data may start growing again in October. Orders may rise as manufacturers are preparing for China’s October holiday season and Christmas gift shopping season demand,” Huang said.

China, the nation’s biggest export destination, continued showing strong demand last month as it ordered US$8.54 billion in goods such as liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels from Taiwan, 7.27 percent more than a year earlier. That amount was the highest since July last year, the ministry’s data showed.

Decline in export orders to the US and Europe accelerated last month to contract 19.27 percent and 21.56 percent annually to US$5.93 billion and US$4.77 billion, respectively, the ministry’s data showed.

“We expect recovery in the US and Europe to be gradual,” Cheng said.

Separately, the statistics department yesterday also released the latest industrial production data, showing that output decreased 9.62 percent year-on-year, or 0.4 ­percent month-on-month last month, snapping six months of consecutive improvement. Among various industrial sectors, output from the manufacturing sector, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of total output, fell 9.38 percent year-on-year, the department said.

Huang attributed the drop to Typhoon Morakot.

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