Tue, Jul 10, 2018 - Page 12 News List

June exports rise 9.4%, despite dip in electronics

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Exports rose 9.4 percent from a year earlier to US$28.25 billion last month as demand for machinery and base metal products remained strong, but electronics shipments contracted slightly, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

That represented a record for June, but a 3 percent decline from May, the ministry said in a report.

Electronic components, the backbone of the nation’s exports, dipped 1.7 percent to US$8.74 billion in their first decline since May 2016 as Chinese technology brands put off inventory building, the ministry said.

“There is no need to worry about the adjustment, which could prove an isolated incident,” Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) told a news conference.

A stable global economy should foster demand for consumer electronics as the traditional high season for mobile and computing device sales approaches, Tsai said.

Taiwan is home to the world’s largest contract suppliers of chips, camera lenses, casings, touch panels and other parts used in smartphones and laptops.

Tsai forecast shipments would pick up between 5 and 7 percent this month, aided partly by relatively high fuel and raw material prices.

Mineral, chemical and plastic shipments grew between 18.1 and 49.6 percent annually last month, while exports of information and communications technology and optical products remained virtually unchanged, the report said.

Shipments to major trading partners increased by 5.4 percent to 21.3 percent, it said.

Imports grew 15.4 percent to US$23.04 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$5.21 billion, the report said.

Capital equipment imports, a critical measure of capacity expansion needs, increased 8.3 percent, even though purchases by local semiconductor firms shrank 5.7 percent for the 14th consecutive month, it said.

Lackluster capital equipment imports could weigh on private investment and domestic demand as a whole, it said.

Outbound shipments totaled US$84.09 billion in the second quarter, beating the 10.35 percent annual increase forecast by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The robust showing lent support to the nation’s export-oriented economy, the ministry said, adding that it is too early to judge how the trade war between the US and China would pan out or how it would affect Taiwan.

“The impact would be small in light of the items currently affected,” an official said by telephone.

Imports in the second quarter of the year grew 10.7 percent from the same period last year, slower than DGBAS’ projection of 11.58 percent.

For the first half of the year, exports grew 10.9 percent annually to US$163.83 billion, while imports picked up 10.8 percent to US$138.28 billion, it said.

Annual growth would fall in the second half due to a high comparison base last year, the ministry said.

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