Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Electronic parts buoy export growth

OPTIMISM:A Ministry of Finance official dismissed concerns of a slowdown, saying major technology firms have provided positive earnings guidance for this quarter

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s exports last month grew a modest 3 percent to US$27.54 billion from a year earlier, as demand for electronic parts remained strong, but shipments of other products lost some steam, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The ministry attributed the uneven growth to base disruptions that might disappear as the year-end holiday season approaches.

The high base last year accounted for significant declines in shipments of information, optical, mineral and electrical products, Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) said.

“The retreat might prove temporary, as the global economy remains on a stable course of recovery and the value of exports continued to mark the highest for the same month in history,” Tsai said.

Apple Inc’s iPhone X might supply the growth catalyst in light of better-than-expected sales so far, she said.

Outbound shipments might advance at a similar pace this month and beyond, compared with double-digit percentage increases in previous months, as low-base benefits are about to die out, she added.

Taiwanese firms supply chips, camera lenses, casings, touchpanels and other critical components to Apple and Chinese firms including Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀移動) and Huawei Technologies Co (華為).

Semiconductors, in particular, last month outperformed other product categories with an 11.6 percent increase to US$8.6 billion, as the bitcoin boom drove up demand for high-performance computing chips, Tsai said.

Imports last month grew a milder 0.1 percent to US$22.34 billion, widening the trade surplus by 17.4 percent from a year earlier to US$5.2 billion, the ministry said.

In the first 10 months of this year, exports and imports gained 13 percent to US$259.02 billion and US$213.21 billion respectively, it said.

All major trade partners increased purchases of Taiwanese goods, with the exception of Japan, which registered a 6 percent contraction as Japanese firms bought less chemical, machinery and mineral products, Tsai said.

Chinese technology brands also cut purchases of information and communications technology products, dragging the sector’s shipments by 5.9 percent, the ministry said, adding that exports of optical devices shrank 11 percent amid lackluster demand for TVs.

Shipments of mineral products plunged 22.6 percent, even though oil prices soared 20.6 percent to US$55.1 per barrel, it said.

Tsai dismissed concerns of a potential slowdown, saying that major local technology firms provided positive earnings guidance for this quarter.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) last month said it expects strong sales for this quarter on the back of insatiable demand for high-end smartphones.

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