The nation’s industrial production picked up for the second consecutive month last month, as global demand for chips, optical products and other critical components remained strong, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Industrial production rose 3.55 percent from one month earlier and 0.78 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said in a report.
The ministry attributed the trend to growing demand for optical products used in high-end smartphones and tablets, as manufacturing accounts for more than 90 percent of the nation’s industrial output.
“Computer and optical product production showed obvious increases last month and lifted the overall manufacturing sector,” Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯), deputy director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference.
Moreover, automakers’ launch of next-generation cars also helped last month’s industrial output, the ministry said.
The country’s metal production grew 0.76 percent last month, from one month earlier, although metal output fell 0.55 percent, compared with the previous year, as some steelmakers shut down production lines because of annual maintenance, the ministry said.
The production of automobiles and auto parts grew 20.47 percent last month from one month earlier and 0.47 percent from a year earlier, according to the report.
The ministry linked the double-digit rebound to local automakers’ successful marketing strategies, as seen in the increase of compact cars and components aided by recovering markets in the US and Europe.
The increase in the manufacturing, metal and automobile sectors helped offset declines in the machinery sector, which saw its output contract 7.88 percent year-on-year on slack demand, the ministry said.
Looking forward, the ministry expects industrial production to trend up.
“Technology firms are set to introduce new handsets, while petroleum and steel consumption will climb through the Lunar New Year holidays,” Yang said.
In a separate report, the ministry said commercial sales — which include wholesale, retail and restaurant sales — grew 1.5 percent month-on-month and 1.8 percent year-on-year to a record high of NT$1.24 trillion (US$41.92 billion) last month.
The launches of new car models and mobile devices drove last month’s commercial sales, Yang said.
Wholesale and retail sales are likely to hold steady or grow mildly this month from last month, as department stores are set to boost sales through offers of discounts to celebrate their anniversaries.
However, restaurants may see their sales falling due to recent food safety concerns this month, he added.