Fri, Sep 21, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Export orders hit new record in August

UNCERTAINTY:An escalating US-China trade war continues to cast a cloud on export prospects, but companies with production bases in Taiwan could benefit, an official said

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Export orders last month rose to a new record high, as Taiwan’s technology suppliers entered their peak season ahead of their clients’ consumer product launches, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The value of export orders last month rose 4.5 percent sequentially and 7.1 percent annually to US$43.68 billion, besting the ministry’s forecast of 2.5 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Export orders are expected to continue to rise next month to between US$48 billion and US$49.2 billion, Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) told a news conference.

Cumulative orders in the first eight months of this year totaled US$323.91 billion, up 6.9 percent or US$20.79 billion from a year earlier, Lin said.

This year’s export orders are on track to exceed US$500 billion, Lin said.

New product launches, such as Apple Inc’s smartphones and smartwatches, as well as strong demand for servers, pushed information and communications technology (ICT) orders last month to US$11.59 billion, rising 1 percent sequentially and 10 percent annually.

The new product launches have also boosted orders across the supply chain, driving exports of electronics goods, including chips, memory, passive modules and printed circuit boards, to rise 8 percent sequentially and 9.6 percent annually to US$11.56 billion.

In the first eight months of the year, ICT orders rose 1.9 percent annually to US$86.49 billion, while electronic goods rose 6.9 percent to US$83.36 billion, the ministry said.

Export orders in traditional sectors were mixed, with basic metals seeing a slight decline due to higher tariffs in the US and Europe, while high inventory levels dampened demand for plastics.

Machinery orders posted a 5.9 percent sequential gain last month, thanks to robust demand for automation equipment from display panel makers, while petrochemical orders climbed 2.6 percent monthly on the back of rising oil prices.

However, an escalating US-China trade war would continue to sow uncertainty for the nation’s exports, especially ICT goods, Lin said.

“Companies with manufacturing bases in Taiwan would be less affected by the trade dispute, and some could even benefit from additional orders as customers avoid Chinese-made products,” she said.

Lin said that 53.2 percent of the goods supplied by Taiwanese exporters are manufactured abroad, of which 47.9 percent came from their production bases in China.

Part of the gains in export orders last month was driven by rush orders from companies aiming to stock up inventory before US tariffs on Chinese goods are raised from 10 percent to 25 percent next year, she said.

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