The nation’s export orders increased 1 percent to US$66.82 billion in the first two months of the year, as steady growth in the number of orders for electronic and information communication products offset a continued decline in those for precision equipment, Ministry of Economic Affairs data showed yesterday.
Last month, export orders grew 5.7 percent annually to US$30.71 billion after suffering a 2.8 percent dip in January due to a low comparative base resulting from fewer working days during the Lunar New Year holiday, the ministry’s figures showed.
“Strong global demand for mobile devices was the main driver of growth for Taiwanese electronic and information communication product orders [in the first two months],” Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞), director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ statistics department, told a press conference.
The ministry’s statistics showed that the number of orders received by local firms for electronics — the nation’s top export, covering wafers and chipsets — rose for the ninth straight month to US$7.72 billion last month.
Last month’s figure contributed to electronics orders totaling US$16.6 billion during the first two months of the year, a rise of 8.2 percent from the same period last year, the figures showed.
Orders for information communication products — Taiwan’s No. 2 export — posted their eighth consecutive increase last month, rising to US$7.48 billion to boost cumulative orders during the first two months by 1.8 percent annually to US$16.78 billion, the data showed.
However, due to weaker demand for panels used in PCs and TVs, orders for precision equipment slid last month for the 10th month in a row, Lin said.
The previous month also saw precision equipment order volume decrease 6.9 percent year-on-year to US$2.11 billion, dragging cumulative orders during the first two months by 7.1 percent to US$4.64 billion, according to the ministry.
By region, China and Hong Kong together still form the country’s largest export market, receiving 25 percent of all exported Taiwanese goods last month, with the US in second with a 23.6 percent share and Europe third as the destination for 18 percent of the nation’s shipped goods.
A survey conducted by the ministry showed that 37.9 percent of the local firms polled predict that export orders will grow this month from last month, while 50.7 percent expected no change in orders volume and another 11.4 percent forecast a decline.
“There’s a likelihood that total orders this quarter will exceed the US$102 billion seen a year ago, but whether exports post strong enough growth to reach that target depends on how quickly the global economy recovers,” Lin said.