Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Machine-tool makers eying Europe

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwanese machine-tool makers are seeking orders in Europe by taking advantage of a falling New Taiwan dollar as they attend the ongoing EMO Hannover 2011, one of the world’s leading metal-working technology trade fairs, market sources said yesterday.

Major local machine tool manufacturers, such as Hiwin Technologies Corp (上銀科技), Kao Fong Machinery Co (高鋒工業), Tongtai Machine and Tool Co (東台精機) and Victor Taichung Machinery Works Co (台中精機), have sent representatives to the fair in Germany to solicit orders from potential foreign buyers, the sources said.

The trade show began on Monday and runs through Saturday.

The NT dollar’s recent depreciation against the US dollar has given local machine-tool makers a competitive edge over Japan, one of Taiwan’s major competitors in the sector, to secure orders in the European market.

Since the end of the second quarter, the NT dollar has fallen about 4 percent against the US dollar, while the yen has risen 5 percent against the greenback during the same period.

Last year, Taiwan ranked as the fourth-largest machine-tool exporter in the world, selling US$3 billion worth of products, behind Japan with US$7.8 billion, Germany with US$6.6 billion and Italy with US$3.3 billion.

The Industrial Development Bureau estimates Taiwan will likely move up a notch this year to become the third-largest machine tool exporter, with sales reaching US$4 billion.

Hiwin chairman Eric Chuo (卓永財) said while the European economy had been shaken by the worsening debt crisis and seen demand weaken, the impact on Taiwan’s machine-tool makers had been limited because local exporters largely sell competitive high-end products.

Chuo said a falling NT dollar could boost Taiwanese exports.

Citing his own company, Chuo said Hiwin’s growth in the European market from January to June was even higher than in the Asian market.

He said so far this year, Europe has accounted for 25 percent of Hiwin’s total sales, up from 23 percent a year earlier.

Chuo expects the proportion in the second half to grow 2 percentage points by the end of this year.

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