Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Export orders hit high of US$66.18bn

MIXED BAG:While the figures were good news for exporters in some sectors, doubts remain over a global recovery, the impact of a falling yen and international competition

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s export orders during the first two months of the year hit a record high of US$66.18 billion, up 1.1 percent from US$65.44 billion during the same period last year, the Ministry of Economics Affairs said yesterday.

By products, machinery orders increased the most, growing 5.41 percent to US$3.12 billion during the first two months from US$2.96 during the same period last year, the ministry’s data showed.

Supported by growing demand for consumer electronics, such as tablets and smartphones, export orders of information and communication products grew 5.3 percent to US$16.49 billion in the two months, from US$15.66 billion a year ago, the statistics showed.

However, export orders for plastics and rubber products, chemical products and basic metal products, dropped on an annual basis during by 8.3 percent, 5.7 percent and 6.8 percent respectively, the ministry said.

“The latest data shows the global economy is recovering at a slow pace. Falls in export orders of some traditional products indicate that global demand for these products remains sluggish,” Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞), director of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference yesterday.

Export orders for last month alone contracted 21.81 percent month-on-month and 14.5 percent year-on-year to US$29.04 billion, after five months of year-on-year growth due to the fewer working days during last month’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Due to a decline in orders for electronics products and information and communication products, export orders from Japan fell 10.7 percent to US$5.67 billion, the data showed.

“The figure [of a 10.7 percent decline] indicates the impact of the depreciation of the Japanese yen, as export orders from Japan declined sharply,” Raymond Yeung (楊宇霆), a Hong Kong-based economist at ANZ Research, said in an e-mailed note yesterday.

Looking ahead, the ministry said domestic machine tools, sports tools, lighting products and bicycle exhibitions are expected to be the main drivers of the nation’s export orders this month.

However, given uncertainties in the global economy remain as international competition intensifies, the ministry remains cautious toward the nation’s economic outlook.

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