The industrial output index fell 3.97 percent month-on-month and 2.33 percent year-on-year to 129.74 points last month on the impact of the eurozone debt crisis, a slowing global economy and sliding export orders, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.
Total industrial output for the first four months contracted 4.08 percent, from the same period last year, to 123.99 points.
The industrial output data came after the ministry said on Monday that export orders — an indication of shipments in the next one to three months — declined 3.52 percent last month year-on-year, marking the lowest point in three years excluding the Lunar New Year months and the fifth consecutive fall since December last year.
Manufacturing sector production — which accounts for more than 90 percent of the nation’s total factory output and includes the electronic, chemical, machinery, foodstuff and textile industries — fell 2.58 percent year-on-year last month.
The decline was primarily because of output contraction in the chemical, foodstuff and textile industries, Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, said at a press conference.
Output of electronics components fell 0.69 percent last month from the year before, base metal output decreased 2.39 percent from the same period last year, while that of chemicals also saw a slump of 3.99 percent on a yearly basis, the data showed.
For this month, Huang predicted a slight improvement in industrial output over last month, based on a sentiment survey among manufacturers. But he said the industrial output index is likely to drop 2.61 percent year-on-year to 135.78 points.
He also said on an annual basis the industrial output would remain in contraction next month, before moving back to positive territory in the second half.
Separately, the ministry yesterday released the nation’s domestic trade figures for last month, with total revenues totaling NT$1.458 trillion (US$49.9 million), down 2.37 percent year-on-year and 3.69 percent month-on-month. Cumulative revenue in the first four months amounted to NT$4.568 trillion, down 1.31 percent from the year before, data showed.