The industrial production index for the January-to-February period this year expanded 3.24 percent year-on-year, driven by continually increasing output of electronics components, as well as petroleum and coal products, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Production in the manufacturing sector — which accounts for more than 90 percent of the nation’s total factory output — increased 3.24 percent year-on-year during the first two months, mainly because manufacturing output continued expanding, with information and electronics products increasing 5.03 percent and daily necessity products growing 3.82 percent, Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯), deputy director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference.
Yang said the industrial production index last month declined 19.93 percent month-on-month and 11.45 percent year-on-year, the largest annual decline in the past two years, because of fewer working days due to the Lunar New Year holidays.
While mining output last month fell the most, by 13.13 percent year-on-year, manufacturing output contracted 12.1 percent, he said.
“The nation’s performance was about average, because Japan and Singapore both posted sharp declines in industrial production during the first two months of the year,” Yang said.
Supported by robust global demand for handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets, output of wafers and TFT-LCD displays continued growing by 5.86 percent during the first two months, he said.
Due to a low comparison base for steel output last year, when some firms ceased production of some products amid the economic downturn, basic metal output grew 4.61 percent year-on-year during the first two months as the global economy steadily recovered, Yang said.
On a monthly basis, basic metal output shrank 8.43 percent last month, he added.
Because the Japanese yen remains weak, automobile and related key components output last month fell 31.53 percent month-on-month, Yang said. In the first two months, automobile and related key components output fell 2.98 percent year-on-year, he added.
The ministry forecast that the industrial production index this quarter would increase slightly, but due to a high comparison base in March last year, the industrial production index this month is likely to fall year-on-year.
“Because the nation’s semiconductor, IC packaging, panel and optical component output is expected to continue growing to meet growing demand for mobile devices ahead of China’s May Day holidays, and export orders for fuel continue increasing, the industrial production index this quarter is likely to achieve sequential growth from the previous two quarters,” Yang said.