Thu, Oct 12, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Exports jump as brands build seasonal inventory

HOLIDAYS:China’s Singles’ Day shopping event next month and the beginning of shopping for the Christmas season have businesses increasing their inventories

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s exports last month spiked 28.1 percent from a year earlier to a record high of US$28.9 billion, as demand for electronic components gained traction ahead of high sales seasons in China and the West, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The growth momentum might continue but slow to a single-digit percentage this month due to fewer working days and a high comparison base last year, it projected.

“Technology brands worldwide are building up inventory to take advantage of a stronger than expected global economy, bolstering business of firms in their supply chains,” Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) told a media briefing.

Taiwanese firms supply chips, camera lenses, casings, touch panels and other critical components to Apple Inc and China’s Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀移動), Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and other brands.

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) is about to kick off next month’s the Singles’ Day shopping festival, which may spur demand for consumer electronic devices, Tsai said, adding that the ensuing Christmas season would keep the shopping binge alive toward the end of the year.

Holiday promotions explained why electronic components picked up 20.8 percent to US$10.18 billion last month, the ministry’s report showed.

Other product categories also put up marked growth as machinery shipments surged 56.5 percent to US$2.28 billion, while transportation equipment rose 32.9 percent to US$1.01 billion, the report said.

A 14 percent increase in international oil prices buoyed shipments of mineral, chemical and plastic products by double percentage points, it said.

Meanwhile, imports gained 22.2 percent to US$22.21 billion, which has allowed Taiwan to have a trade surplus of US$6.69 billion, a record high for the same month, Tsai said.

She dismissed the concern over a continued decline in imports of semiconductor equipment, saying local chipmakers had bought sufficient equipment earlier and that the equipment remains useful.

For the third quarter, both exports and imports beat the forecast of Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics by a comfortable margin, signs that the agency might raise its growth projection for this year, Tsai said.

The ministry expects outbound shipments to stay strong through this quarter when local firms might benefit from delayed launches of Apple’s gadgets.

“It is too early to pass judgment on new iPhone sales, as fans around the world need more time to digest new features,” Tsai said.

For the first nine months, exports rose 14.3 percent to US$231.48 billion while imports grew 14.7 percent to US$190.88 billion, the ministry report said.

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