Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 12 News List

May exports grow 14.2% as expansion cycle continues

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Exports last month rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier to US$29.12 billion, as non-US smartphone brands launched next-generation devices and technological innovations saw new applications, benefiting local firms in their supply chains, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The ministry expressed surprise at growth momentum that it said was as hot as the unseasonably weather last month.

“The pace of growth beat popular expectations with the expansion cycle continuing 19 consecutive months,” ministry Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) told a news conference.

A stable global economy and ever-changing consumer taste have driven technology giants to develop and launch new gadgets, the ministry said, adding that Taiwan has taken advantage of the trend by supplying chips and other critical components used in mobile and high-performance computing devices.

All product categories saw robust demand from trading partners worldwide, a ministry report showed.

Electronics exports last month grew 15.9 percent annually to US$9 billion and accounted for 30.9 percent of total exports, it said, adding that semiconductors alone contributed US$7.73 billion.

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), HTC Corp (宏達電), Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Co have released new handsets to win customers and boost sales, the ministry said, adding that while demand for smartphones appears to have peaked, they remain a key growth driver.

Non-technology sales, which are dominated by plastic, chemical and mineral products, also posted a strong pickup from the same period last year, the report said.

China, including Hong Kong, continued to be the largest export destination for Taiwan, accounting for 40.7 percent of total value last month, followed by ASEAN markets at 17.4 percent and the US at 12.5 percent, the report showed.

Imports last month advanced 12 percent to US$24.71 billion, but Taiwan nonetheless had a trade surplus of US$4.41 billion, the ministry said.

Imports of capital equipment gained modest steam with a 3.6 percent increase to US$3.76 billion, even as equipment purchases by local semiconductor firms stayed in negative territory.

In the first five months, exports grew 11.2 percent year-on-year to US$135.58 billion, while imports rose 10 percent to US$115.26 billion, the report said.

The ministry added that it is optimistic about the nation’s external trade showing in the second quarter.

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