Exports expanded at a faster-than-expected pace last month on strong demand from emerging markets, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
Outbound shipments increased 16.6 percent to US$25.35 billion last month from US$21.74 billion a year earlier, marking the second-highest level since records started, Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞), director of the ministry’s statistics department, told a media briefing.
Compared with December’s US$23.83 billion, exports rose 6.4 percent, ministry data showed.
Exports hit a historical high of US$25.47 billion in May last year.
“The global economic recovery — especially the strong rebound in emerging markets — led to the rise in exports last month, boosting demand for Taiwan-made products, such as machinery, electronics, chemicals and plastics,” Lin said.
Exports to six ASEAN emerging markets hit a record-high US$4.17 billion last month, while shipments to China and Hong Kong — the nation’s biggest trading partners — expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year to US$10.22 billion, ministry data showed.
Exports to the US climbed 26.3 percent to US$2.79 billion last month, compared with US$2.21 billion a year ago, while shipments to Europe declined for a second consecutive month to US$2.66 billion.
Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), chief economist of Citigroup in Taipei, said that exports last month beat his forecast growth of 10.4 percent because of stronger-than-expected shipments of non-electronics products.
As concern over the strength of the economic recovery in the US and Europe remains, Cheng said non-electronics products would continue to be the main driver of the nation’s exports later this year.
Tony Phoo (符銘財), chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Taipei, said last month’s results also exceeded his forecast.
However, he expected exports to slow in the coming months as major Taiwanese electronics manufacturers had posted soft monthly sales.
Meanwhile, imports gained 21.9 percent to US$23.47 billion last month from US$19.25 billion a year ago, resulting in a trade surplus of US$1.88 billion, Lin said.
The surplus decreased 24 percent from US$2.49 billion, ministry data showed.