Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Industrial production up 7.05% in May

BEATING EXPECTATIONS:New smartphone launches have fueled demand for silicon wafers and DRAM chips, with IC demand rising 17.56 percent on an annual basis

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s industrial production index hit 111.1 last month, an annual increase of 7.05 percent, beating the government’s previous forecast of 3 percent growth, propelled by growing demand for consumer electronics and communication products, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The manufacturing production index, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Taiwan’s industrial production, expanded the fastest of the four sub-sectors at 7.24 percent, the ministry said.

The growth was largely due production of electronic components, especially silicon wafers and DRAM chips.

“Though last month is usually the slow season for electronics components suppliers, demand turned out to be better than our expectations this year on the back of new smartphone launches,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) told a news conference.

The output of the integrated circuit (IC) segment portion climbed 17.56 percent year-on-year, while computers and optical products rose 19.74 percent thanks to increasing demand for camera lenses used in smartphone and notebooks, Wang said.

It was the sector’s strongest annual growth since February 2015, Wang said.

Machinery goods production rose 17.5 percent, supported by continued robust demand for automated equipment, a 16th consecutive month of growth, while the basic metal segment increased 2.92 percent, primarily due to growth in production of rebars and steel billets.

The automobile and automotive components sector ended three consecutive months of decline with 7.16 percent annual growth, the ministry said.

Chemical product output edged up 0.82 percent from a year earlier, as growing demand for polyester, styrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) offset lower production volume during the period, it said.

The industrial production index for the first five months of the year reached 105.12, a 5.37 percent increase compared with the same period last year, the data showed.

Despite continued robust demand for Taiwanese products, the ministry forecast for this month was relatively conservative, due to fewer working days because of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday weekend.

The ministry expects the manufacturing production index to increase 3 percent year-on-year this month and 6 percent for the second quarter, it said.

The growth momentum should extend into the third quarter, as global oil and steel prices remain relatively high, which is likely to boost demand for petrochemical and steel products.

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