Export orders grew 3.1 percent year-on-year in US dollar terms last month, recovering from an annual decline of 3.8 percent the previous month, and bringing first-quarter orders to 6.4 percent more than last year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement yesterday.
Orders totaled US$42.38 billion last month, the highest March figures since the ministry started collecting data in 1953, and first-quarter figures totaled US$117.9 billion, the strongest showing for the period, ministry data showed.
On a monthly basis, export orders — indicative of outbound shipments in one to three months — rose 30.6 percent, the ministry said, adding that first-quarter figures fell 18 percent from the previous quarter.
Orders for information technology and communications products decreased 5 percent annually to US$10.8 billion last month, as declines in mobile device and notebook computer orders offset an increase in orders for servers, graphics cards and storage devices.
Orders for electronics goods increased 5.6 percent to US$11.31 billion last month, as robust demand for cryptocurrency mining, high-performance computing, automotive electronics and gaming computers drove orders for semiconductors, integrated circuit back-end services, printed circuited boards and passive components.
Both sectors’ results — the pillars of the nation’s export orders — marked record quarterly highs of US$32.08 billion and US$29.94 billion respectively, the ministry said.
Other sectors showed mixed results for last quarter, with orders for optical products, including flat panels and camera lenses, falling 8.7 percent year-on-year to US$5.96 billion, while orders for machinery goods rose 8.9 percent to US$6.05 billion.
Meanwhile, orders for basic metals, plastics and rubber products all rose by double-digit percentage points last quarter from the same period last year — at 19.8 percent, 17.4 percent and 15.2 percent respectively — driven by the recovering global economy and strengthening crude oil prices, the ministry said.
The US remained the largest market for Taiwanese goods last month, with orders rising 6.5 percent annually to US$11.92 billion on the back of increased demand for electronic goods and basic metals, with orders for the first quarter growing 5.2 percent year-on-year to US$32.07 billion.
The ministry said that China and Hong Kong ranked as the second-largest market for Taiwan by placing US$11.48 billion in orders last month, up 6.8 percent year-on-year, which pushed first-quarter figures up by 11.6 percent to US$31.45 billion.
In the first quarter, orders from Europe increased 5.7 percent to US$22.84 billion, while orders from ASEAN members grew 1.8 percent to US$11.82 billion and those from Japan increased 8.7 percent to US$6.59 billion, the data showed.
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