Sat, Sep 09, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Exports hit four-year high

TECH BOOST:The finance ministry was not concerned about the decline in capital equipment imports, but added that it might need to revise up its exports forecast

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s exports rose 12.7 percent from a year earlier to a four-year high of US$27.77 billion last month, aided by the launches of next-generation electronic devices ahead of the high sales season, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The momentum might pick up further starting this month as Christmas and the Lunar New Year approach, analysts said.

“Apple Inc is due to launch its new iPhone next week, accounting for the strong demand for electronic parts used in mobile devices,” Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) told reporters.

Electronic components, which made up 34.7 percent of overall shipments, expanded 14.4 percent to a record-high US$9.64 billion last month, as the US technology giant is to release a redesign of the phone to mark its 10th anniversary.

Taiwanese firms supply chips, camera lenses, casings, touch panels and other critical components to Apple and other brands.

Semiconductors grew 15.9 percent to US$8.36 billion, constituting 86.7 percent of electronics shipments, the ministry’s report showed.

Rapidly emerging Internet of Things applications helped drive semiconductor demand, officials said.

Imports gained 6.9 percent to US$22.06 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$5.71 billion, a 43 percent spike from a year earlier, the report said.

Machinery tools reported the largest advance of 26.8 percent to a record US$2.28 billion, as automation gains acceptance and becomes more prevalent among firms worldwide, Tsai said.

Meanwhile, raw material price hikes lent support to mineral, chemical and plastic exports, the report said.

Major trade partners all purchased more Taiwanese goods, with exports to China growing 14.5 percent to US$11.39 billion, accounting for 41 percent of overall shipments, it said.

Shipments to ASEAN markets increased 19 percent to US$5.35 billion, while exports to Europe gained 7.1 percent to US$3.25 billion, it said.

For the first eight months, exports rose 12.5 percent to US$202.59 billion while imports grew 13.8 percent to US$168.69 billion, the report said.

The ministry dismissed concerns over a continued decline in capital equipment imports, saying that the retreat might not necessarily mean sluggish private investment, because capital equipment tends to last for a while.

“The government might actually have to increase export forecasts if the growth momentum sustains, as it likely will,” Tsai said.

SinoPac Securities Co (永豐金證券) shared the positive sentiment, saying that a stable global economy is favorable for electronics sales.

“The appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar might not hurt local exporters as the Chinese yuan, South Korean won and other emerging currencies also rallied,” SinoPac analyst Lexie Lin (林南君) said by telephone.

However, major local exporters took a hit in profitability from the strong NT dollar this year.

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