The manufacturing sector’s combined revenue rose 0.61 percent last quarter to NT$3.26 trillion (US$107.8 billion) from the fourth quarter of 2012, ending three quarters of contraction, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
However, the sector posted a second straight year of decline for the whole year, with revenue down 1.21 percent to NT$12.83 trillion, indicating that the industry lacks strength for significant growth, the ministry said.
It attributed last quarter’s rise to increased sales of electronic components, chemical products and automobiles.
“Most manufacturers could hardly increase their revenue last quarter because of the weak macroeconomy,” Wang Shou-yu (王守玉), head of the industry survey division of the ministry’s statistics department, said by telephone.
The manufacturing sector’s revenue depends on the global economy because more than half its goods are sold overseas, she said.
Last quarter, electronic component makers, which are the biggest revenue contributors to the nation’s manufacturing sector, saw revenue rise by 0.38 percent year-on-year to NT$856.4 billion, as sales of new devices from global brands drove demand for chipsets, integrated circuits and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) used in mobile devices, Wang said.
The electronic component industry as a whole saw its revenue increase slightly last quarter by 0.17 percent to reach NT$3.39 trillion last year from 2012, offset by a weakness in flat-panel makers, she said.
Chemical product makers’ revenue rose last quarter by 4.96 percent year-on-year to NT$436.5 billion, bringing the industry’s full-year revenue up 0.77 percent to NT$1.72 trillion last year, from NT$1.71 trillion in 2012, as rising global crude prices boosted petrochemicals prices, the ministry’s report showed.
Electronic component and chemical sectors are the only two segments that reported annual growth last year, according to the ministry.
As the US and European auto markets regained sales momentum, local auto and auto part makers received increased orders last quarter, generating revenue of NT$98.8 billion, up 4.81 percent from the same period in 2012, Wang said.
Last year, the auto industry’s revenue fell 3 percent to NT$384.6 billion.
PC and optical product makers’ revenue fell by 6.99 percent last quarter from the previous quarter to NT$199 billion, the ministry’s report showed. That brought the full year revenue for the sector to NT$800.1 billion, down 8.31 percent year-on-year.
“Taiwanese PC and optical product manufacturers better catch up soon, or they will lose competitiveness to their Chinese rivals,” Wang said.
Tech firms such as HTC Corp (宏達電) and Acer Inc (宏碁) were among the victims, Wang said.
Machinery makers’ revenue declined by 1.39 percent from a year earlier to NT$157.8 billion last quarter as weak global economy curtailed new plant investments.
Annual sales of machinery dropped 7.44 percent to NT$599.7 billion last year from a year ago, the report showed.