Industrial production rose by 4.56 percent last month from a year earlier, driven by strong demand for electronic components as technology firms launched new mobile devices, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday. That followed a 2.99 percent increase in September
Production in the manufacturing sector — which accounts for more than 90 percent of the nation's total factory output — increased 4.56 percent last month from a year earlier, said Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯), deputy director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, adding that the sector has risen for four consecutive months since July.
Within the manufacturing sector, information and communications output grew 8.53 percent year-on-year, followed by a 5.82 percent increase in chemical production and a 2.05 percent increase in output from other domestic sectors that concern the people's livelihood such as food, textile, tobacco and clothing. However, metal machinery output fell 3.89 percent.
Electronic components contributed most to the increase with an annual growth rate of 12.32 percent last month, following September’s 13.97 percent growth. January-to-October electronic components production grew by 2.35 percent from the same period last year.
Chemical production increased by 5.59 percent year-on-year last month, as Formosa Plastics Group’s naphtha cracker returned to production and downstream petrochemical plants began operations again.
In the January-to-October period, chemical production increased by 0.11 percent compared with the same period last year, the ministry’s report said.
However, output of machinery equipment, computer and optical products, and basic metals declined by 8.76 percent, 7.33 percent and 6.34 percent respectively last month from a year earlier.
“Computer and optical production declined last month mainly because demand for communications products in the US and Europe decreased, offsetting additional output for Windows 8-supported personal computers,” Yang said.
In the first 10 months, computer and optical production decreased by 7.53 percent.
For this month, Yang predicted manufacturing output would increase slightly compared with last month due to a lower base in the same period of last year and strong demand for semiconductors, TV panels, and information and communications technology products ahead of the Lunar New Year.
However, industrial output might not increase significantly due to uncertainty about the US’ financial situation, Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and conflict in the Middle East, he added.
The ministry’s latest data on domestic trade, also released yesterday, shows revenue for the wholesale, retail and restaurant sectors fell 0.7 percent to NT$1.22 trillion (US$41.9 billion) last month from a year earlier.