Leading economic think tank Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute (元大寶華綜合經濟研究院) said on Saturday that it was cautious over export growth through this month as the pace of the global economic recovery appeared fragile.
Outbound sales for last month remained unchanged from a year earlier, ending a two-month decline, but the zero growth missed market expectations of a 2 percent year-on-year increase, indicating that exports are still moving slowly, Yuanta-Polaris said.
Given the information, it is very possible that exports will begin declining again, the think tank said.
Last month’s exports were valued at US$24.89 billion, unchanged from a year earlier, but down 4.7 percent from October. Exports in October and September fell 1.5 percent and 7 percent year-on-year respectively.
While last month’s exports to China and Hong Kong rose 6.5 percent annually, sales to the US, Europe and Japan fell 0.7 percent, 1.6 percent and 7.6 percent respectively.
Exports to six major ASEAN markets — Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam — plunged by a massive 9.3 percent year-on-year for last month. In October, sales to those countries rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier.
Yuanta-Polaris said the steep decline to the ASEAN countries largely reflected falling sales in mineral products and electronics goods.
Consumption in China has been capped as the country goes through economic restructuring, while other emerging economies have also shown signs of slowing, the think tank said.
Europe’s developed economies remain weak while the US needs more time before being able to make a strong comeback, it said.
Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the Macroeconomic Forecasting Center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院), also gave a pessimistic reading for Taiwan’s exports over the entire year.
As it is not peak season for electronics exporters, this month is unlikely to improve the figures for the year, Sun said.
In the first 11 months of this year, exports rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to US$277.63 billion.