Fri, Sep 21, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Export orders drop by 1.5 percent

EXPORT HOPES:Orders of electronic goods increased 0.4 percent annually last month, while demand for information and technology products remained weak

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s export orders dropped at the smallest annual pace in the past six months last month, supported by a pickup in demand for advanced chips like those for smartphones and LCD TV panels ahead of the holiday shopping season in China, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Export orders slipped 1.5 percent to US$36.15 billion last month, compared with US$36.71 billion in the same period of last year, the ministry’s statistics showed. That was 0.6 percent monthly growth from July’s US$35.94 billion.

That could pave the way for the nation’s export orders to regain strength later this year.

“We are seeing new [positive] factors to lift the nation’s export orders,” Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞), director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, said on the phone yesterday.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (鴻海精密) is the major assembler of iPhones, which is expected to be the biggest beneficiary from the sale of the iPhone 5, according to Credit Suisse.

Largan Precision Co (大立光), a major camera module supplier to the US’ most valuable technology company, expected revenue to hit a record high again this month.

“The launch of new tablets [by global brands] in October, the fact that a lot of Taiwanese companies are suppliers to Apple Inc’s [iPhone 5] smartphones, which will ship more goods after the phone hit store shelves,” and continuing increasing demand for locally made TV panels from China would support the ministry’s expectation that “there is a high possibility that export orders will hold steady this month on an annual basis,” Lin said.

A survey conducted by the ministry showed that export orders would return to growth in dollar terms as the index bounced back to 56, surpassing the 50 boom-bust line.

The sub-index for precision industrial items, which include LCD panels, shot to 76.5, the highest among eight sub-indices, according to the ministry’s survey.

“It’s very rare to see such a strong boost for the nation’s LCD industry, which has been in a slump for a long period of time. China’s shopping season, which starts on Oct. 1, is lifting demand for TV panels,” Lin said.

Last month, demand for precision industrial goods grew 5.9 percent annually, or 14.2 month-on-month, to US$3.37 billion, making it the third-biggest component of Taiwan’s export orders, the ministry’s statistics showed.

Orders on the nation’s biggest export items, electronic products, increased 0.4 percent annually to US$8.61 billion last month, marking the second month of annual expansion in a row, the ministry said. On monthly basis, the orders grew 0.4 percent.

Demand for information and technology products like smartphones and tablets remained weak as those products are mostly shipped to debt-troubled Europe.

Orders for IT products, the second-largest exported goods, shrank 8.5 percent annually, or down 4.1 percent month-on-month, to US$8.56 billion, according to the ministry’s tally.

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