In the fourth quarter of last year, the manufacturing sector ended a seven-quarter production value losing streak, largely on the back of a strong showing by the nation’s electronic components industry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Saturday.
In the October-to-December period, the output of the manufacturing sector rose 5.72 percent year-on-year to NT$3.26 trillion (US$105.86 billion) following a 1.38 percent year-on-year decline in the third quarter, the ministry said.
However, for the whole of last year, the nation’s manufacturing production value fell 4.26 percent year-on-year to NT$12.31 trillion, an improvement from 2015’s 10.84 percent annual decline, the ministry said.
In the fourth quarter, the electronic components industry served as a driver to boost the manufacturing sector’s total output due to international brands’ efforts to launch new mobile devices, which stimulated buying at a time when global demand was recovering, the ministry said.
The electronic components industry recorded NT$959 billion in production value in the fourth quarter, representing a 9.21 percent year-on-year increase, the ministry said, adding that the semiconductor business made the largest contribution to overall growth.
Local semiconductor firms’ production totaled NT$352 billion in the fourth quarter, a record quarterly high and an annual surge of 26.12 percent, while the output of flat-panel manufacturers rose 10.45 percent year-on-year to NT$239.6 billion on the back of a recovery in product prices, the ministry said.
However, the output of the computer and optoelectronics segment over the period fell 8.31 percent year-on-year to NT$167.1 billion, amid escalating competition from foreign rivals, the ministry said.
The chemicals industry posted NT$418.1 billion in production value, up 10.37 percent from the same period last year and bringing to an end a nine-quarter losing streak, in a reflection of a rebound in petrochemical product prices resulting from higher international crude oil prices, the ministry said.
The output of the base metals industry rose 23.11 percent year-on-year to NT$313 billion on improved steel product prices, while the production of the machinery industry grew 0.13 percent to NT$157.8 billion, ending a five-quarter losing streak, as suppliers raised their investments in high-end item production, the ministry said.
However, affected by an increase in imported products, the output of the nation’s automobile and auto-part businesses fell an annual 1.58 percent to US$100.8 billion, the ministry said.
The outlook for the manufacturing sector this quarter is positive, given solid demand for electronic devices, the ministry said, adding that rising prices of raw materials and higher shipments in the steel and petrochemical industries would give an additional boost to the whole manufacturing sector.
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