The industrial production index rebounded unexpectedly by 1.06 percent last month from a year earlier, reversing from a 0.57 percent year-on-year decline in August, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday, citing strong competitiveness of the semiconductor industry’s high-end processes.
On a monthly basis, the index — which stood at 100.17 last month — dropped by 3.5 percent from a month earlier, but showed a 0.51 percent rise after seasonal adjustment, the ministry said in its monthly report.
That brought the index in the period between July and last month to 103.27, its second-highest level in history, after showing an increase of 2.09 percent from three months earlier and 0.85 percent from a year earlier, the report said.
Production in the manufacturing sector — which accounts for more than 90 percent of the nation’s total industrial output — rose by 0.73 percent year-on-year last month, but dropped by 3.75 percent month-on-month, the report’s data showed.
“Demand for solar materials, high-quality steel products, synthetic fibers and general resins rebounded [last month], offsetting slowing productions on communications, machinery and automobile sectors,” Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯), the ministry’s statistics department deputy director-general, told a press conference.
For this month, the ministry forecast industrial production index would remain at a similar level from last month, as the US debt issue was put on hold and the EU’s economies showed some improvement, which may offset slowing demand in global emerging economies.
During the first nine months of the year, local industrial production grew by 0.47 percent from the previous year, with manufacturing output increasing by 0.34 percent, ministry statistics said.
Separately, the ministry yesterday said commercial sales — which include the wholesale, retail and restaurant sectors — increased by 1.3 percent from a year earlier to NT$1.223 trillion (US$41.56 billion) last month, terminating the annual falling trend seen in the previous four months.
The results last month marked the fourth-highest level in history and represented an increase of 2.8 percent from a month earlier, ministry data showed.
The ministry attributed last month’s rebound in commercial sales to better automobile sales, as well as strong seasonal sales in department stores on the back of their annual sales events, both driving up retail sales by 4.4 percent from a year earlier.
Wholesale sales rose slightly by 0.2 percent last month from a year earlier on the back of strong sales of garment accessories, while sales in the restaurant sector increased by 2.6 percent year-on-year amid an expansion of bubble-tea stands and strong seasonal demand for dining out and recreational activities during the Mid-Autumn Festival last month, the ministry said.
The ministry said commercial sales this month may also remain flat from last month, as sluggish demand on products such as personal computers, home appliances and precious metals may offset expected strong sales in automobile market and department store sector.