Mon, Jan 02, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Outlook for petrochemicals, metals poor

Staff Writer, with CNA

The outlook for Taiwan’s petrochemical and basic metal sectors will be dimmer this year than for other sectors, a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) official said on Saturday.

Most manufacturers said in a recent survey that they would bottom out in the first quarter of the year, but the petrochemical and basic metal sectors could continue to struggle into the second half, the official said.

Part of the problem, he said, is that between 30 percent and 40 percent of Taiwan’s petrochemical and base metal exports normally go to China, to customers such as plastic processing plants, auto parts manufacturers and steel plate producers, which are export-oriented.

With their operations suffering from China’s credit tightening policy and the eurozone debt crisis, “this has also affected Taiwan’s petrochemical and basic metal sectors,” the official said.

The official said the world economy began to grow sluggish in August owing to the European and US debt problems and might suffer for a more prolonged period than it did after the 2008 financial meltdown.

At that time, countries around the world resorted to economic stimulus measures to save their floundering economies, helping turn the situation around, but major economies, including China, have not come up with similarly aggressive measures this time around, he said.

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