Fri, Jun 22, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Export orders grew 11.7% to US$41.11bn last month

UNFAZED:Of 12 benchmark companies polled about their export outlook, only one expected its supply chain to be affected by US-China tit-for-tat trade measures

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

Export orders grew 11.7 percent year-on-year to US$41.11 billion last month, the highest May figures since the government started collecting such data in 1953, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The increase was mainly driven by continued demand for electronics and machinery products, although May is traditionally a slow month for telecommunication products, the ministry said.

Export orders in the first five months of this year reached a record high of US$198.12 billion, an 8.1 percent increase from the same period last year, Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) said at a news conference in Taipei.

Orders for electronics grew 14 percent to US$10.6 billion and orders of basic metals expanded 14.8 percent year-on-year to US$2.54 billion last month, the ministry said in a statement.

Machinery also saw annual growth last month, with orders rising 15.8 percent year-on-year to US$2.21 billion on the back of growing demand for automated equipment, it said in the statement.

The petrochemicals, plastic and rubber goods sector also posted double-digit annual growth on a global increase in demand, it said.

China and Hong Kong were the largest export destinations, with orders increasing 19.2 percent to a record US$11.48 billion, while orders from the US grew 8.3 percent year-on-year to US$11.22 billion, ministry data showed.

The ministry yesterday gave an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year based on its survey of 12 benchmark firms, despite widespread concern among businesses about the negative consequences of escalating US-China trade tensions.

US President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the Office of the US Trade Representative to identify US$200 billion worth of Chinese products for additional tariffs of 10 percent, in response to China’s proposed 25 percent tariff on US$34 billion of US products.

Bejing’s proposal came after Washington last week announced a 25 percent tariff on up to US$50 billion of Chinese goods.

Among the 12 respondents, only one company said that a trade row between the world’s two largest economic powers might affect its supply chains, Lin told reporters.

The other 11 firms said that they expect the effects to be negligible, given their robust demand outlooks, she said.

The ministry said it expects export orders for this month to grow between 2.8 percent and 5.3 percent from June last year.

That would translate to orders of between US$41.5 billion and US$42.5 billion, it said.

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