Tue, May 22, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Export orders drop 3.52%: ministry

SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS:The MOEA said improving demand from the US and ASEAN nations was not enough to offset the decline in orders from China and Japan

By George Liao  /  Staff reporter

Export orders for this month and next month are expected to continue contracting compared with the same period last year as the electronics industry enters its weak season and exports to China fall, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday as it announced last month’s export order figures.

Export orders — an indicator of exports over the next three months — declined 3.52 percent last month year-on-year to US$36.09 billion because demand for information and communications technology products dropped as a result of customers transitioning from old to new products, the ministry said.

The decline was the second consecutive monthly contraction after orders fell 1.58 percent in March from the previous year.

By country, export orders from China — the nation’s -largest -export destination — plummeted 7.8 percent year-on-year last month to US$9.26 billion, the lowest level seen in three years, with precision instruments accounting for the biggest decline because demand was not as strong as expected during the Labor Day holiday.

“The decrease [in orders] reflected China’s slowing economy, which is expected to bottom out in May or June,” Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), deputy director of the -ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference.

Export orders from the US grew 0.79 percent year-on-year to US$8.37 billion last month, while those from Europe slid 0.78 percent annually to US$6.49 billion, data showed.

By product, information and electronics goods accounted for the greatest number of orders with a total of US$8.64 billion and US$8.46 billion respectively.Europe and China were the two largest importers of those goods, the ministry said.

On a monthly basis, export orders dropped 6.11 percent from the US$38.37 billion reported in March.

The ministry said improving demand from the US — the nation’s second-largest export destination — and ASEAN nations was unable to offset the sharp decline in orders from China and Japan.

Orders in the first four months grew 0.13 percent to US$139.9 billion from US$139.7 billion a year ago, data showed.

This month, export orders are expected to slide slightly year-on-year from the US$37 billion recorded a year ago, the ministry said.

Those figures should improve slightly from last month given that a ministry sentiment index stood at 59.42, which was well above the base of 50, officials said.

The outlook for this month and next month is for only moderate growth, with the electronics industry entering its slow season and the eurozone debt crisis continuing to cause concern, the ministry said.

“The slight growth will be generated by high-tech product innovations, such as smartphones, tablets, Ultrabooks and cloud computing products, along with China’s downward revision of the required reserve ratio also playing a positive role,” Tsai said.

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