Industrial production expanded for the third month in a row last month, but growth momentum is slowing compared with the previous month, a government report showed yesterday.
For the first nine months of the year, total industrial output contracted 1.51 percent compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in the report.
The industrial production index rose 3 percent from a year earlier to 129.54 points last month on the back of an expansion in manufacturing and fuel supplies, as well as in the construction and building industries, but the index was 4.69 percent lower than in the previous month, the report said.
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 — grew 14.25 percent year-on-year last month, the report showed.
Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯), deputy director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, attributed the results to increasing demand for electronic materials used for new high-tech gadgets, such as handheld devices and tablet computers, which had offset lower output from domestic steelmakers and basic metal manufacturers.
However, there are some uncertain factors that may affect domestic manufacturers’ production in the months ahead, Yang said.
“If the market sustains a positive reaction toward new products running Microsoft [Corp’s] Windows 8 operating system, there is a likelihood that we will see additional demands for related electronic products and components supplied by local manufacturers,” he said.
Industrial Development Bureau Director Hsiao Chen-jung (蕭振榮) said he was “cautiously optimistic” about industrial output next month because of the launch of new smartphones and tablets in the fourth quarter as well as the seasonal demand for new cars.
The ministry’s latest data on domestic trade, also released yesterday, showed revenue for the nation’s retail, wholesale and restaurant sectors totaled NT$1.22 trillion (US$41.4 million) last month, up 1.5 percent from a month earlier, but down 0.8 percent year-on-year.
Cumulative revenue of domestic trade in the first nine months of the year amounted to NT$10.61 trillion, down 0.8 percent year-on-year, the data showed.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
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