The nation’s export orders hit US$37.59 billion last month, a 0.61 percent increase on the previous month as demand for LCD TV panels and e-paper displays in emerging markets offset weakening demand for chips and handheld devices in the US and Europe, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
On an annual basis, export orders expanded by 11.2 percent from US$33.83 billion a year ago, after a 9.8 percent annual increase in June, the ministry’s data showed.
However, growth momentum is expected to wane this month as more than half of the nation’s more than 3,000 manufacturers expect orders to fall, a separate survey conducted by the ministry showed.
“Deviating from the usual seasonal pattern, this month’s orders are expected to fall slightly. The likelihood of growth below the usual seasonal rate in the third quarter is increasing,” Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), deputy director of the ministry’s statistics department, said during a media briefing.
“We are closely monitoring if the US credit crisis will cut local firms’ orders in the second half of the year as US economic growth seems to be running out of steam,” Tsai said, citing Global Insight Inc’s revised forecast for US GDP growth this year of 1.6 percent, down from the 2.5 percent it estimated previously.
Last month’s US$37.59 billion in export orders slightly exceeded an estimate of US$37.4 billion by Citigroup chief economist Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂).
“[Next month,] all eyes are on whether the growth [in orders] from China will be sustained, as China is becoming an important [growth driver] amid [stagnating orders from] the US and Europe,” Cheng said.
Orders from China, the nation’s top trade partner, climbed 2.42 percent to US$9.66 billion, reversing a setback of 4.25 percent to US$9.43 billion in June.
Orders for precision instruments, the nation’s third-biggest contributor to export orders, mostly LCD panels, grew 7.31 percent to US$3.36 billion last month, the first growth in three months.
“Though demand for LCD TVs in the US and Europe remains weak, local companies are seeing increasing orders from Chinese customers, including an US$260 million order for e-paper displays,” Tsai said.
However, Taiwan’s two biggest contributors to export orders saw declines in orders last month, with orders of information and communications products falling 1.75 percent to US$9.39 billion month-on-month and electronics orders, primarily chips, falling 2.94 percent to US$8.42 billion, the statistics showed.
Year-on-year, orders for information and communications products outpaced all segments last month by expanding 21.79 percent because of increased shipments of iPhones and iPads, the ministry said.