Tue, Nov 08, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Exports see fastest monthly growth in two years

LONG SLUMP:While outbound shipments could continue growing in the remaining months, full-year exports could still decline after contracting in the first 10 months

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s exports last month rose 9.4 percent from a year earlier to US$26.75 billion, the fastest pace in more than two years, buoyed by a strong demand for electronic components used in smartphones, personal computers and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The growth momentum might extend through the end of the year, albeit at a slower pace compared with last month, which benefitted from delayed shipments caused by two typhoons in September, the ministry said.

“The latest trade data show significant improvements in most product categories from all trading partners — a sign that the economy around the world is recovering,” Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) said.

Exports of electronic components, information and communications devices, and machinery rose by more than 10 percentage points, while shipments of optical, plastic and chemical products recovered to positive territory after a long soft patch, the ministry’s report said.

While mineral and textile products registered a mild decline from a year earlier, these and other sectors have generally emerged from the impact of falling crude oil prices, Tsai said.

Imports, also a crucial economic gauge as most of them stem from export needs, rose 19.5 percent from a year earlier to US$22.37 billion last month, as local manufacturers boosted capital equipment purchases to maintain their technological edge, the report said.

The trend was particularly evident in the semiconductor industry, whose capital equipment spending last month surged 85 percent from a year earlier to US$2.09 billion, the report said.

Demand for latest smartphone models propelled the technology advancement, while connected vehicles and IoT applications lent further support, Tsai said.

Car imports soared 33.8 percent to a record US$500 million last month, as Taiwanese took advantage of a subsidy program intended to spur replacement demand, Tsai said.

China, the largest export destination, bought NT$11.36 billion worth of goods from Taiwan, an increase of 14.9 percent from a year earlier, boosting overall exports by 6 percentage points, Tsai said.

China accounted for 42.5 percent of Taiwanese exports, rising from 40 percent in previous months, the report said.

Shipments to ASEAN markets grew 13.2 percent to US$4.8 billion, while exports to the US and Europe increased 7.8 percent and 6.8 percent to US$3.06 billion and US$2.27 billion respectively, the report said.

Demand for personal computers, flat panels and other products also increased, Tsai said.

Despite the rebound, exports might not swing to growth for the full year, as outbound shipments for the first 10 months were still down 4.5 percent, while imports declined 4.7 percent, the statistics official said.

The trade surplus stood at US$4.38 billion last month, a decrease of 23.7 percent from a year earlier, the report said.

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