The nation’s industrial production index last month climbed 3.22 percent annually to a record of 112.87, boosted by stronger-than-expected demand for semiconductors and panels, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The gauge for manufacturing output, which contributed more than 90 percent of total industrial production, surged 4.7 percent annually last month, much higher than the ministry’s estimate of 1 percent.
“The growth momentum surprised us. The production for semiconductors and large panels greatly exceeded the ministry’s forecast,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) told a news conference.
Wang said the production of semiconductors rose 16.72 percent last month, driven by orders for communication chips and memory products.
It marked the 10th consecutive month of double-digit percentage growth in annual terms, she added.
Recovering demand for TVs and international peers’ decision to close panel production lines sent the production for Taiwan’s panels surging 34.8 percent year-on-year last month, which is the largest annual expansion since July 2010, she said.
Wang said machinery goods production last month expanded for the fifth straight month with an annual growth of 9.48 percent, fueled by a recovering global economy that boosted demand for industrial automation equipments.
The solid industrial production performance brought the index to 104.46 in the first three months of this year, up 5.14 percent from a year earlier, she said.
Looking forward, Wang said the ministry forecasts the manufacturing production to grow by 7 percent this month from the same period last year, supported by the extended momentum from last month.
Wang said on the back of Android smartphone vendors launching new flagship models this quarter and the increasing adoption of automotive electronics and high-efficiency computing applications, the ministry foresees the production index this quarter to grow from a year earlier.
In a separate release, the ministry said the nation’s wholesale sector revenues grew 6.1 percent year-on-year to NT$833.2 billion (US$27.52 billion) last month, benefiting from increasing orders for communication chips, memory products and flat panels.
Wang said the inventory building of cosmetics and health supplements for the Mother’s Day also lent support to the wholesale sector’s performance.
The revenues of the retail sector expanded only 1.7 percent annually to NT$325.2 billion last month, due to a higher comparison base last year and slowing sales in department stores due to a traditional slow season, she said.
Wang said sales in the restaurant and beverage sector rose 3.9 percent to NT$35.1 billion last month from a year ago, attributed to restaurant operators’ outlet expansion and promotional events.
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