Exports and imports last month posted strong annual growth for the eighth consecutive month, with shipments of information and communication products to the US hitting record-high growth, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. \nExports rose 34.1 percent from a year ago to US$22.73 billion, while imports increased 40.4 percent to US$21.32 billion, the ministry said. \n“Exports to major markets all grew by double digits, with those to the US expanding 53.4 percent year-on-year,” Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞), head of the ministry’s statistics department, told a media briefing. \nLin said that shipments of information and communication products, mostly mobile phones, to the US, in particular, posted the largest increase — US$290 million, or 89 percent, from a year ago, followed by shipments to China, including Hong Kong, at 33.9 percent. \nIn the first half of this year, exports and imports hit their second-highest amount in history, with the former increasing US$43.51 billion, or 49.2 percent year-on-year, and the latter rising US$47.1 billion, or 54.7 percent, data showed. \n“Exports of major products in the first half rose substantially, with optical devices seeing the largest increase at 114.6 percent, followed by chemical products at 62.7 percent, and electronics at 55.5 percent,” Lin said. \nShipments of electronics and plastic products in the first six months hit their highest in history, while imports of capital equipment and consumer products reached a record high for that period, indicating that private investment and consumption have clearly rebounded, Lin said. \nMinistry data showed that imports of capital equipment in the first six months totaled US$18.82 billion, an increase of US$8.25 billion, or 77.9 percent from a year ago, with sales of machinery posting the largest growth at US$5.97 billion, or 102.1 percent. \nOn a monthly basis, however, exports and imports last month declined from the previous month due to slower demand for and price cuts for some products, the ministry said. \nExports dropped US$2.81 billion, or 11 percent, from May, while imports declined US$960 million, or 4.3 percent, ministry data showed, adding that exports to China, including Hong Kong, dropped the most — 15.6 percent from a month earlier. \nCheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), Citigroup Taiwan’s chief economist, said the figures were “disappointing” after hitting record highs in May, adding that they had dropped to the levels before April. \nPredicting that exports in the second half of this year would grow 5 to 10 percent from the first half, Cheng said exports and imports could still rise by double digits in the next few months, but the growth would not be as substantial as recorded in the previous months. \n“It is likely that [exports and imports] in the second half of the year will return to the levels recorded in May, but that will still depend on the global situation,” Lin said.
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