Industrial output momentum slowed last month as electronics manufacturers slowed production growth amid slower PC sales.
The industrial output index was 128.22 last month, down 0.5 percent from July, but up 23.4 percent from the same period last year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in its latest report.
Last month’s output failed to set yet another record high, after five straight record highs from March to July.
However, it was the second-highest output, only trailing July — which saw the highest output with an index of 128.86, the ministry’s tallies showed.
“Some consumer electronics were not selling as fast as expected, therefore vendors were adjusting the excess inventories. That caused a slowdown in last month’s factory output,” said Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), deputy director general of the ministry’s statistics department.
She didn’t rule out lower year-on-year output growth for the next few months.
“The slower output last month wasn’t too surprising,” said Liang Kuo-yuan (梁國源), president of Polaris Research Institute (寶華綜合經濟研究院). “The V-shape rebound will come after a sluggish 2009, but the upside will slow down eventually.”
Liang said output last month was still in the healthy range, but uncertainties may come next year depending on the outlook for the global economy.
Production in the manufacturing industry — which accounts for more than 90 percent of Taiwan’s factory output and includes electronics, chemicals, machinery, food and textiles — grew 24.7 percent last month.
The machinery sector’s output posted the strongest year-on-year growth of 68.4 percent thanks to rising orders from India, China and Brazil, the department said.
Output for the mining and quarrying industries rose 16.4 percent, while that for the gas and electricity supplies industry was up 4.1 percent.
Factory output for the first eight months grew 32.7 percent from last year, the department said.
The latest industrial output data came after the ministry said on Monday that export orders — an indication of shipments in the next one to three months — were at a record high last month on the back of strong international demand for Taiwanese electronics components.
Export orders expanded 23.3 percent last month from a year earlier to US$34.88 billion. Total orders may rise to a record US$400 billion this year, up from last year’s US$322.4 billion, the ministry said.
Domestic consumption was also robust last month.
Total sales in the wholesale, retail and food and beverage sectors hit NT$1.16 trillion (US$36 billion). That represents an increase of 6.3 percent from last year, but a 2.3 percent fall from July, the department said.
Combined sales in the first eight months of the year increased 11.3 percent to NT$8.92 trillion, the department said.
Most notable was the food and beverage sector, which expanded 8.6 percent to NT$30 billion in sales, it said.
Tsai said stores selling beverages saw brisk business in the summer months, while aviation food and beverage companies also saw a boom in business as more people took flights during the peak summer season.
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