Thu, Feb 28, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Industrial output grows at fastest pace in months

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

The industrial production index expanded at its fastest annual rate in seven months last month, as a recovering global economy boosted demand for mobile devices and their components, such as chips and flat panels, statistics released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday showed.

However, the upward trend is expected to take a breather this month, with almost half of the respondents in a survey conducted by the ministry forecasting that the index would slide sequentially this month because of seasonal factors.

Despite the gloomy forecast, the ministry said that the long-term growth trend remains intact, because a “stabilizing global economy, growing demand for mobile devices and an uptick in global steel prices would help push up demand [later this year].”

The industrial production index rose 19.17 percent year-on-year to 132.7 last month, with manufacturing posting the biggest increase at 19.86 percent. The index rose 3.56 percent from the 128.14 posted in December last year.

Among the manufacturing categories, information technology (IT) output expanded 20.83 percent year-on-year, or 3.55 percent month-on-month, to 185.18 last month. The ministry attributed the sector’s growth to resilient end demand for smartphones, tablets and high-resolution, slim-screen televisions.

That helped boost demand for chips and LCD panels, it said. The IT segment makes up the biggest portion of industrial output.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, saw revenue increase 37.1 percent year-on-year last month, while Innolux Corp (群創光電), the nation’s biggest panel maker, also reported a 26 percent annual expansion in revenue last month.

Aside from manufacturing, which was the biggest contributor to the nation’s industrial output, steel production also helped lift industrial output last month, the ministry said.

Output of basic metals, primarily steel, increased 19.39 percent annually as prices rose amid improving demand.

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