As Chinese companies stocked up on electronics products ahead of an expected Lunar New Year buying spree, Taiwan’s factory output set yet another record high last month by expanding 19.4 percent from a year ago, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The index of industrial output hit 130.34 last month, up 3.1 percent from October. This was the sixth time that factory output reached record level this year, with five straight record highs from March to July.
Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), deputy director general of the ministry’s statistics department, said the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls in early February next year, has prompted companies to build up their inventories and that has kept Taiwanese factories busy.
“Economic growth in China has surpassed that of Europe and the US,” Tsai said, adding that the effect impacted Taiwanese factories, which in the past saw highest output in August and October for the Christmas shopping spree.
Now the highest output has occurred in November, marking a shift of dependence toward Lunar New Year’s effect, she said.
Factory output for this month is expected to post 25 percent growth year-on-year, while output for the year looks set to expand more than 20 percent from last year, which would be another record high.
The record was set in 1971, when industrial output grew by 23.4 percent, while the next-highest figure was in 1978 with 22.5 percent growth.
Factory output for the first 11 months jumped 27.3 percent from the same period last year.
Manufacturing industry production — which accounts for more than 90 percent of Taiwan’s total factory output, and includes the electronics, chemicals, machinery as well as food and textile sectors — grew 29 percent for the first 11 months.
Output of electronic components — a major manufacturing industry sub-sector — was up 44.3 percent and those for machinery rose 62.5 percent — marking the highest rise among all manufacturing sub-sectors.
The ministry said on Monday that export orders hit its second-highest recorded level of US$35.74 billion last month, up 14.3 percent from a year earlier, amid the backdrop of strong international demand for Taiwanese consumer electronics.
The ministry yesterday released consumption figures for last month. Total sales for the wholesale, retail as well as food and beverage sectors totaled NT$1.17 trillion (US$39.2 billion) amid strong domestic consumption. That was a 5.9 percent increase from last year, but a drop of 3.2 percent from October, the figures show.
Combined sales for the first 11 months rose 10 percent to NT$12.47 trillion.
Tsai said a lower unemployment rate, higher salaries and the rising stock market were all factors pushing up local consumption.