Sat, Nov 24, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Industrial production expanding

REDIRECTED ORDERS:Apart from a rise in local production, firms have also seen a jump in orders from US customers, in particular for items facing the highest tariffs

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Indices tracking the nation’s industrial production last month continued to expand and hit a new high for October, as the ongoing US-China trade dispute compelled companies to relocate production to Taiwan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The industrial production index rose 4.35 percent month-on-month and 8.25 percent year-on-year to 116.38, while the index for manufacturing, the pillar of industrial output, climbed 5.18 percent month-on-month and 9.24 percent year-on-year, with both indicators continuing an eight-month growth streak, Department of Statistics data showed.

Apart from a rise in local production, businesses have also seen a jump in orders from US customers, in particular for items facing the highest tariffs such as networking equipment and servers, Department of Statistics Director-General Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) told a news conference in Taipei.

As companies redirect orders, the output index tracking the nation’s computer, electronics and optolectronics sectors last month increased 13.05 percent month-on-month and 23.87 percent year-on-year to 137.67, the fastest growth since October 2011.

“Redirected orders was a major reason for faster-paced growth last month,” Wang said. “While it is still too early to tell, we believe the effect would continue to persist.”

However, Wang said that industrial production and manufacturing output would likely trend down next month, due to a high base set last year, adding that last month’s results were boosted by three additional business days compared with the previous month.

The smart manufacturing and automation segments remain strong, but it would take more time to gauge the impact on suppliers named in a Chinese anti-dumping probe, Wang said.

Cumulatively, industrial production grew 4.3 percent in the first 10 months of the year compared with a year earlier, while manufacturing output increased 4.65 percent over the same period, data showed.

The department also yesterday released the nation’s domestic trade figures for last month, with revenue totaling NT$1.33 trillion (US$43.04 billion).

Domestic trade — including the retail, wholesale and restaurant sectors — rose 2.27 percent month-on-month and 4.98 percent year-on-year, data showed.

Among the three sectors, retail revenue last month set a new record high for October at NT$371.5 billion, but the 0.9 percent annual growth was slower than expected, Wang said, adding that a 15.9 percent year-on-year increase in crude oil prices and a stock market rout had dampened consumer spending.

While Nov. 11’s “Singles Day” led to a 5.2 percent year-on-year rise in e-commerce sales, spending would likely begin to cool next month as promotions wind down, coupled with lackluster smartphone sales, she said.

From January through last month, accumulated domestic trade totaled NT$12.54 trillion, up 4.3 percent from the same period last year, with the wholesale sector showing the highest annual increase of 4.6 percent to NT$8.63 trillion, data showed.

During the first 10 months, the retail sector saw revenue rise 3.6 percent to NT$3.52 trillion, while the restaurant sector reported sales that were 4.4 percent higher year-on-year at NT$393.2 billion, data showed.

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