Thu, Feb 01, 2018 - Page 12 News List

GDP grows 3.28%, beating prediction

STOCK TURNOVER:Consumer consumption of devices, clothing, travel, as well as food and beverage sales last quarter helped to generate a positive wealth effect

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s GDP expanded 3.28 percent last quarter, beating the government’s forecast by almost 1 percentage point, as the global economy grew faster than expected, boosting demand for Taiwanese exports, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The showing helped lift full-year GDP growth to 2.84 percent, the highest in 11 quarters and 0.26 percentage points higher than the official prediction in November last year, according to the agency’s advance report.

“Recovery in advanced and emerging economies accelerated in the second half of last year and the pace has yet to show signs of a turnaround or slowdown,” DGBAS senior executive officer Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) said, quoting international research bodies.

The IMF has raised its growth forecast for global trade this year from 4 percent to 4.6 percent, an adjustment that is favorable for Taiwan’s export-reliant economy, Huang said.

Net external demand bolstered GDP growth by 3 percentage points last quarter, accounting for 91.46 percent of the overall increase, the report showed.

Apple Inc’s launch of the iPhone X series late last year lent support to sales of electronic parts during the October-to-December period when local suppliers normally report a modest business decline from the third quarter.

Taiwan is home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker, chip designers, and producers of camera lenses, casings, touch panels and other critical components used in smartphones, laptops, tablets and other technology devices.

Consumer consumption increased 2.92 percent last quarter, beating a projection by 0.9 percentage points, as stock turnover almost doubled, while the TAIEX rose 15.64 percent, DGBAS section chief Yu Ming-chun (游敏君) said.

Positive wealth effect helped energize handset, garment, travel and restaurant sales, Yu said.

Government spending and capital formation last quarter turned negative with a decline of 1.25 percent and 4.78 percent respectively, softening domestic demand to a 0.33 percent increase, the report said.

Statistics officials expressed confidence that the situation would improve this year as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) has begun constructing a new facility in southern Taiwan to produce the world’s first 5-nanometer chips in 2020.

Imports of capital equipment increased last quarter, compared with the previous quarter, Huang said.

For the whole of last year, GDP growth might have increased 2.84 percent, 0.26 percentage points higher than forecast, Huang said, adding that some data have yet to come in and the statistics agency will release formal figures on Feb. 13.

Inbound travelers last year inched up 0.46 percent, while the number of Chinese tourists fell 22.19 percent to 2.73 million, the DGBAS said.

Travelers from Southeast Asian nations rose 27.65 percent to 2.28 million, largely filling the void left by the Chinese, officials said.

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