Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Industrial output up 7.8% last month

BEATING EXPECTATIONS:An ANZ report said May’s solid growth showed that the adverse impact from Japan’s quake had faded and that Taiwan was a net beneficiary

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Industrial output expanded 7.8 percent last month to 134.96 points, its third-highest level on record, amid strong global demand for Taiwanese electronics, metals and machinery products.

The index reached its highest and second-highest levels ever in March and December last year, at 138.78 points and 136.58 points respectively.

Industrial production for the first five months of this year advanced 11.7 percent from the corresponding period last year, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday.

Output growth last month was higher than market expectations of 5.9 percent, ANZ Banking Group said in a note.

“The stronger-than-expected industrial production suggested that the adverse impact from Japan’s earthquake on supply chains had faded. It also proved that Taiwan was a net beneficiary on the back of the [solid momentum] of the current global electronics cycle,” it added.

Output by the manufacturing industry — which accounts for more than 90 percent of Taiwan’s total factory output and includes the electronics, chemicals, machinery, food and textile sectors — rose 7.7 percent last month.

Electronics components saw growth of 11.8 percent, as strong demand for consumer electronics 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.

In contrast, chemicals output dropped 10.1 percent after the two fires that hit Formosa Plastics Group’s (台塑集團) Mailiao (麥寮) petrochemical complex last month.

The Yunlin County Government ordered group members Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) and Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠) to halt the operation of six petrochemical plants until adequate industrial safety measures have been implemented.

That impacted the production of midstream chemical companies, Huang said.

He said chemicals output could remain in a slump in the second half of this year because of the plants’ suspension, along with monetary tightening in China — Taiwan’s biggest buyer — and rising crude oil prices.

The ministry said on Monday that export orders — an indication of orders to come in the next one to three months — hit their second-highest level at US$37.62 billion last month, thanks to demand for tablet computers, smartphones and transport equipment.

That could mean another busy period for local factories this month, it said.

Separately, the ministry yesterday released internal consumption figures for last month.

Total revenue for the domestic wholesale, retail as well as food and beverage sectors hit NT$1.17 trillion (US$40.5 billion), up 3.8 percent from a year ago but down 0.3 percent from April.

Cumulative revenue for domestic consumption was NT$5.8 trillion during the first five months, up 6.9 percent year-on-year.

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