Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Industrial output down on electronics

BETTER TIMES AHEAD?The economics ministry expects a pickup this month, backed by a steady US economic recovery and robust global demand for handheld devices

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Industrial production declined 4.62 percent last month, mainly due to a seasonal slowdown in the electronics components industry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

On an annual basis, the index rose 6.86 percent to 107.47 last month, the ministry said.

The manufacturing sector, which accounted for 92.76 percent of industrial output, dropped 4.13 percent from the previous month, Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯) said, attributing the decline to inventory corrections in the semiconductor industry.

For this month, Taiwan’s semiconductor, LED and optic modulator industries are likely to rebound, thanks to steady US economic growth and robust global demand for handheld devices, Yang said.

“We expect that the industrial production index for this month will be better than last month’s and that output for the full year will outpace that of last year,” he said.

However, a few uncertainties might affect this month’s performance, he said.

“The decline in international oil prices, the Russian and Greek economic crises and currency depreciation in Japan and South Korea might have an impact on Taiwanese production,” Yang said.

For the first 11 months of the year, industrial production rose 6.03 percent from a year earlier, Yang said, with manufacturing rising 6.35 percent from a year ago.

Although the information technology sector’s output for last month dropped 4.1 percent from the previous month, it jumped 16.03 percent from a year earlier, Yang said.

“Global smartphone brands and large-screen TVs spurred demand for Taiwanese electronics products this year,” he said.

The petrochemical industry also saw production slide 4.28 percent from a year earlier and 1.16 percent from the previous month due to falling global crude oil prices, he said.

The automobile industry edged down 0.83 percent month-on-month and 0.64 percent from a year ago, when production was boosted by many new car launches, the ministry said.

In separate release, the ministry said that commercial sales, which covers the wholesale, retail and restaurant sectors, fell 3.5 percent to NT$1.2038 trillion (US$37.9 billion) last month, dragged down by a weak auto sector, Yang said.

Wholesale revenue totaled NT$831.1 billion last month, up 0.3 percent year-on-year, but down 3.6 percent month-on-month, ministry data showed.

“Wholesale auto sales declined 8.1 percent from a month earlier and slumped 11.2 percent annually,” Yang said, adding that supply shortages at international auto companies and currency fluctuations affected demand from retailers.

Retail sales rose 1.8 percent annually, but dropped 3.7 percent monthly, to NT$340.3 billion last month, mainly because of plummeting international oil prices, which dragged down fuel sales, Yang said.

Meanwhile, restaurant revenue inched up 0.1 percent on annual basis and 0.3 percent on monthly basis to NT$32.5 billion last month, data showed.

Yang said the flat to mild increase implies that the impact from a series of food scandals might be subsiding.

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