Thu, Nov 30, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Exports grow to double digits on holiday demand

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Finance Sheu Yu-jer answers questions at a meeting of the legislature’s Finance Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Taiwan’s exports regained double-digit annual growth this month after slackening to 3 percent last month, buoyed by holiday demand for electronic components used in mobile devices, Minister of Finance Sheu Yu-jer (許虞哲) said yesterday.

“Exports are likely to grow more than 10 percent this month [from a year earlier] after advancing by double-digit percentages in the first three weeks,” Sheu said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Finance Committee.

The ministry had earlier this month forecast that the pace of increase might slow due to a tapering of low-base benefits.

Sheu declined to give an explanation, saying there should be more growth drivers than Apple Inc’s new iPhone models.

Taiwan’s exports are closely tied to iPhone sales, as local technology firms supply its chips, camera lenses, panels, casing, batteries and other critical components.

Local firms also benefit from growing demand for artificial intelligence, connected vehicle and Internet of Things applications.

The bitcoin boom has also lent support for high-performance computing chips, the ministry said.

For the first 10 months of this year, exports rose 13 percent to U$259.02 billion from the same period last year, while imports gained at the same pace to US$213.21 billion, allowing the nation to book a trade surplus of US$45.8 billion.

The surplus would help the New Taiwan dollar strengthen against the greenback after it closed below NT$30 yesterday for the first time since 2014.

Sheu said the chance is high for the ministry to extend the tax cut on daily stock trading since the policy has proven effective in boosting turnover.

The legislature in April cut the 0.3 percent daily stock trading tax by half for a year and the ministry is seeking to extend the policy.

“What the ministry cares about is tax revenue and the tax cut has proved helpful in inflating stock transaction taxes,” Sheu said.

Daily turnover has climbed above the NT$100 billion (US$3.33 billion) level this year due mainly to hot money inflows, the central bank said.

The ministry is waiting for the Financial Supervisory Commission to comment on the extension, Sheu said.

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