Wed, Nov 01, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Economy grows faster than expected

UNDUE CONCERN:The DGBAS had been conservative on outbound shipments due to high comparison bases and reports that Apple would postpone iPhone launches

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s economy expanded 3.11 percent last quarter, beating an August government forecast of 1.89 percent, as exports were stronger than expected and more than offset a decline in private investment, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

“The global economic recovery and the high sales season for electronic components buoyed exports to a record during the July-to-September period, allowing GDP growth to advance at a much faster pace,” DGBAS senior executive officer Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) told a media briefing.

The uptrend might extend through this quarter and beyond, as the global economy and trade activity could gain further traction next year, he said, citing international research institutes.

The agency is scheduled to update its forecast for this year’s GDP growth rate next month. The third-quarter result might warrant an upward revision of 0.31 percentage points to 2.42 percent, compared with 2.11 percent projected in August.

Electronic parts used in mobile devices underpinned the growth momentum, while applications linked to the Internet of Things, connected vehicles and industrial robots also lent force, Huang said.

The agency was previously conservative about outbound shipments in the second half of this year due to relatively high bases of comparison last year and reports that technology bottlenecks might cause Apple Inc to postpone launches of its new iPhones.

“The concern proved to be unnecessary in light of healthy inventory demand among local suppliers,” Huang said, adding that sell-through figures would reveal if the demand will be sustained.

Major technology firms generally offered positive business guidance at their investors’ conferences, Huang said, adding that Taiwanese companies have maintained their technology leadership on the world stage and would continue to benefit from global trade expansion.

Domestically, private consumption rose 1.91 percent last quarter, better than a 1.74 percent pickup predicted in August, the agency said.

DGBAS section chief Yu Ming-chun (游敏君) attributed the showing to an increase in retail, restaurant and auto sales.

The number of inbound travelers logged a 3.14 percent gain, after contracting for four consecutive quarters, Yu said, adding that the government’s New Southbound Policy appears to be paying off.

The number of tourists from the 18 countries targeted by the policy increased 26.04 percent annually in the third quarter, she said.

Meanwhile, daily securities transactions grew 57.32 percent, as investors became accustomed to the TAIEX rallying above the 10,000-point mark.

However, capital formation contracted 7.75 percent, reducing GDP growth by 1.68 percentage points, as local firms bought less capital equipment, the agency said.

The decline is likely temporary and harmless, as leading semiconductor firms have signaled plans to keep their advanced facilities in Taiwan, Huang said.

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