Domestic manufacturers continued to see their output post double-digit increases year-on-year for the 13th consecutive month last month, buoyed by stable growth in export orders and domestic demand, data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed yesterday.
For the whole of last year, the nation’s industrial production grew a record 26.38 percent from 2009, with output from the manufacturing sector — the biggest component of overall industrial production with a nearly 80 percent share — expanding 28.03 percent, the ministry said in a press release.
Industrial production expanded 18.18 percent year-on-year last month, following a 19.21 percent rise in November, higher than the 12 percent increase forecast by Citigroup.
Commenting on the latest output data, Citigroup Taiwan chief economist Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂) said in a note that manufacturing led the growth by increasing 19.01 percent year-on-year, while the utility and construction sectors saw low single-digit growth.
The 3.83 percent monthly expansion in industrial production last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, however, was slower than the 6.52 percent rise in the previous month, the ministry’s data showed.
Industrial production in the fourth quarter of last year grew 17.29 percent from a year ago, with manufacturing output rising 18.05 percent year-on-year, the ministry said.
On a quarterly and seasonally adjusted basis, fourth--quarter industrial production rose 8.28 percent from the previous three months, after declining 0.66 percent in the third quarter and dropping 0.04 percent in the second quarter, the ministry’s data showed.
Looking ahead, the ministry expects industrial production to maintain stable growth in the current quarter as “manufacturers continue gaining orders following the Consumer Electronics Show in the US this month and the Mobile World Congress in Europe next month,” the Central Broadcasting System (中央廣播電台) quoted Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), deputy director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, as saying yesterday.
In addition, industrial production will also gain support from “continued production outsourcing from IDM [integrated device manufacturing] companies, which has prompted both Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) to consider working overtime during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday,” Tsai said.
TSMC and UMC are the world’s largest and second-largest contract chipmakers.
The ministry yesterday also released the latest data for domestic commercial sales, showing that commercial sales — including the retail, wholesale and food and beverage sectors — totaled NT$1.196 trillion (US$40.79 billion) last month, the second highest on record after October’s NT$1.206 trillion.
Last month’s domestic sales were 5.42 percent higher than the same period last year, but lower than the 5.91 percent increase in November, the ministry said in a separate release.
For the full year, domestic sales reached a record level of NT$13.67 trillion last year, up 9.59 percent from 2009, with the wholesale sector leading with the biggest increase of 10.8 percent, followed by the food/beverage sector’s 7.12 percent and the retail sector’s 6.56 percent, the ministry said.
“Strong data for exports, industrial production and retails sales suggest that GDP growth could top 1.0 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter, that could transform to a 6 percent increase year-on-year,” Cheng said in the note, adding that growth momentum would remain robust in the current quarter.