Industrial output expanded 6.9 percent last month to 130.99 points on strong global demand for Taiwanese electronics and PCs, statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed yesterday.
That was a 5.6 percent decrease from March, which saw a record high of 138.78 points, the statistics showed, while output for the first four months advanced 12.6 percent from the corresponding period last year.
Manufacturing 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 — rose 7.1 percent last month.
Electronic components output was up 11.4 percent, on the back of strong shipments for consumer electronics that prompted foreign firms to buy more panels and chips from Taiwan, said Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director-general of the ministry’s statistics department.
Output for the metals sector expanded 13.3 percent because steel produced by Japanese factories was impacted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters, prompting international buyers to buy from Taiwan instead, he said.
Factory output for chemicals dropped 2.2 percent because buyers opted to delay spending amid crude oil price fluctuations.
While Taiwanese factories benefited from orders transferred from Japan, the annual maintenance shutdowns of some petrochemical plants offset that, resulting in the decline, the department said.
Huang said output for this month should slow after output last month expanded 6.9 percent — the first single-digit growth after 17 consecutive months of double-digit growth.
The ministry said last Friday that export orders — an indication of orders to come in the next one to three months — hit their second-highest level at US$37.41 billion last month, thanks to rosy demand for tablet PCs and smartphones.
The ministry also released last month’s domestic consumption figures. Total revenue for the wholesale, retail, as well as food and beverage sectors hit NT$1.17 trillion (US$40,45 billion), up 4.9 percent from a year ago. However, it was down 2.3 percent month-on-month.
Cumulative revenue for local consumption was NT$4.63 trillion during the first four months, up 7.7 percent year-on-year.