The nation’s export orders contracted 5.8 percent year-on-year to US$33.73 billion last month, less than the government’s estimated fall of 7 percent, due to a pickup in demand for smartphones and notebooks, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The figure marks the 14th consecutive month of falls, but the pace eased from April’s 11.1 percent fall.
On a monthly basis, export orders expanded 1.7 percent from NT$33.16 billion (US$1.03 billion) in April, the data showed.
“The increasing demand for smartphones and 4G handset chips in emerging markets was the main stimulus,” ministry Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) said at a news conference.
Lin said improving demand for notebooks from Europe also helped shrink the decline last month.
Orders for information and communications technology and electronic goods, the pillars of overall export orders, climbed 3.6 percent and 1.9 percent month-on-month respectively, the data showed.
The year-on-year decline for information and communications terchnology and electronic products moderated to 3.5 percent and 3.1 percent respectively, from an almost 10 percent drop in April, the data showed.
Orders for stainless steel grew 2.6 percent monthly, but dropped 4.1 percent annually last month, as customers placed more orders before an anticipated increase in average selling prices, Lin said.
Lin said the demand and selling prices of panel products improved last month, raising overall export orders for precision instruments by 3.5 percent from April.
That marks the third consecutive monthly increase for precision instrument orders, indicating improving demand for the nation’s panel products, Lin said.
However, due to the persistently low global crude oil prices, orders for petrochemical products dropped 8.3 percent annually and 4.2 percent monthly to US$1.56 billion last month, Lin sid.
By destination, the year-on-year declines in orders from the US, Europe, China and Hong Kong, last month all narrowed to low single-digit percentages from the double-digit percentages recorded in April, Lin said.
“The improvements were supported by increasing orders for information and communications technology and electronic goods,” Lin said.
The US remained the largest export order destination, with orders falling 4 percent annually, but expanding 0.1 percent monthly to US$9.39 billion last month, ministry data showed.
Orders from China and Hong Kong totaled US$8.41 billion last month, falling 6.4 percent annually, but climbing 2.9 percent from April, the data showed.
Export orders are to continue to expand this month from last month’s US$33.73 billion, on the back of improving demand for smartphones, stainless steel and panel products, Lin said, citing the ministry’s monthly survey of local makers.
“Export orders will be from US$33.8 billion to US$34.3 billion this month, based on the survey,” Lin said.
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