Tue, Aug 21, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Export orders rebound on electronics

EARLY UPTICK:With orders bouncing back from a June dip before the traditional peak in fall, the economics ministry forecast exports this year would beat last year’s record

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Export orders last month unexpectedly bounced back 8 percent year-on-year, thanks to growing demand for semiconductors and electronics components ahead of Apple Inc’s launch of its new iPhones, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

That easily exceeded the ministry’s estimates last month that export orders that month would grow by between 0.7 percent and 3.3 percent.

Export orders jumped to US$41.8 billion, from US$38.72 billion, getting back on a growth track after dipping 0.1 percent in June, ministry statistics showed.

Orders from China and the US grew the fastest, at 12.5 percent and 8.4 percent to US$11.74 billion and US$10.95 billion respectively, setting a July record, the ministry said.

“The growth was propelled by new product launches, new smartphones in particular, later this year,” Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) said. “And not just one particular brand’s launches.”

TECHNOLOGIES

Taiwanese companies play a crucial role in Apple’s supply chain, supplying components, such as processors and camera lenses, and assembling iPhones in China.

Emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, facial and fingerprint recognition, and Internet-of-Things applications also boosted demand for chips, passive components and memory chips, Lin said.

An uptick in LCD panel prices helped slow a contraction in optoelectronic goods to a 6.2 percent fall in exports last month, from a 13 percent fall in June, Lin said.

The ministry forecast that last month’s growth momentum would extend into this month and next month.

Local manufacturers expect export orders of between US$41.8 billion and US$42.8 billion this month, representing an annual expansion of 2.5 to 4.95 percent, Lin said.

ANNUAL PEAK

Growth should be even stronger in September, when export orders traditionally hit their annual peak, boding well for full-year export order performance, Lin said.

“This year’s figure will be higher than last year, supported by seasonal demand in the second half,” Lin said.

The ministry recorded 6.8 percent year-on-year growth in export orders to US$280.24 billion in the first seven months of the year, she said.

This year’s figure should surpass last year’s record-high orders of US$492.8 billion, Lin added.

In addition to electronic products, steel and petrochemical products showed an upward trend as global crude oil prices rose, Lin said.

Cryptocurrency-related demand for computer components saw a recovery as well, she added.

Brent crude oil prices soared more than 38 percent to US$71.47 per barrel during the January-July period, ministry data showed.

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