Exports last month expanded for the second consecutive month, to reach their highest level in 32 months, as the global economic recovery drove demand for electronics from the US and Europe, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
The nation’s outbound shipments rose 2 percent annually to US$27.76 billion last month, marking the highest level since July 2011.
“Demand from the nation’s export destinations showed palpable growth last month [from the previous year],” Yeh Maan-tzwu (葉滿足), director of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference.
Exports to major global markets, such as the US and Europe, has helped offset slight decline from China and Hong Kong, Yeh said.
Exports to the six ASEAN economies increased 5.7 percent to US$5.39 billion last month from a year ago, while shipments to Japan grew 7.8 percent annually to US$1.78 billion.
Exports to both markets reached their second-highest level in history, the ministry said.
In terms of products, the strong demand on electronics products and transportation-related goods helped boosted the nation’s outbound shipments last month, as shipments of both sectors rising to monthly record levels.
The export growth last month still failed to help last quarter’s exports meet the forecast by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) in February.
Exports in the first three months rose 1 percent to US$73.33 billion from a year ago, while falling short of the US$73.58 billion projected by DGBAS, the statistics director said.
However, Yeh maintained relatively optimistic about the nation’s trade outlook in the remaining quarters of the year, citing the opinions of several industrial pundits that export momentum may gradually pick up from this quarter.
Hong Kong-based ANZ Research senior economist Raymond Yeung (楊宇霆) also said Taiwan’s trade outlook should be positive as the slowdown in China — Taiwan’s largest export market — will likely bottom out soon, with the world’s recovery on track.
However, failure to secure the cross-strait service trade agreement on schedule has become a downside risk, which may risk the progress of the further free-trade agreements for goods, which are unlikely to be concluded this year, Yeung added.
In terms of imports, the ministry’s report also showed that the nation’s inbound shipments last month stood at US$25.8 billion, up 7.5 percent from the previous year, reaching their highest level since May 2011.
That caused the nation’s trade surplus to reach US$1.95 billion last month, which was a decrease of US$1.25 billion from the previous year, the ministry said.