The nation’s industrial production index fell 1.93 percent annually last month, as there were fewer workdays during the Lunar New Year holiday, but still rose 4.63 percent in the first two months from a year earlier, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
“Generally, there has been a general uptrend in industrial production since May 2016,” Department of Statistics Deputy
Director-General Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) told a news conference in Taipei.
The industrial production index gauges output in Taiwan’s five main industries: manufacturing, mining and quarrying, electricity and gas supply, water supply and architectural engineering.
The manufacturing production index, which contributed 92.76 percent to total industrial production, dropped 2.86 percent annually last month, but increased 4.13 percent in the first two months, ministry data showed.
Of the manufacturing industries, the machinery industry posted the highest production growth in the first two months, thanks to robust demand for linear guideways and ball screws driven by a worldwide wave of “smart” manufacturing, the ministry said.
On an annual basis, machinery goods production rose 14.22 percent in the first two months and 3.42 percent last month respectively, ministry statistics showed.
Increasing orders for silicon wafers and glass substrate lent support to production in the electronics components industry at the beginning of the year, the ministry said.
The electronics sector, which accounts for about 30 percent of manufacturing production, rose 6.97 percent year-on-year in the first two months and 3.28 percent last month from the same period last year.
The value of chemical production grew 2.5 percent annually in the first two months and 3.24 percent annually last month, supported by higher crude oil prices.
The ministry said industrial production for this quarter is expected to grow from a year earlier as a robust global economic recovery continues, but at a slower pace than in previous quarters, due to a higher comparison base in the same period last year.
Asked about the possible effect of an escalating global trade war, Wang said that the situation is still to ouncertain to assess.
The White House on Thursday said that Australia, the EU, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil would be temporarily exempted from the US’ announced tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.
The ministry is disappointed that Taiwan is still on the US government’s tariffs list and the possible duties on Taiwanese steel exports to the US could put pressure on downstream suppliers in the local steel industry, Wang said.
The ministry would continue seeking talks with the US government about waiving tariffs for Taiwanese steelmakers, she said.
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