The nation’s industrial production and factory activity last month recorded their second consecutive annual decline since November last year amid lingering US-China trade tensions, slowing global economic growth and tepid smartphone sales, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The index tracking industrial production fell 1.86 percent annually to 106.55, while the index tracking the manufacturing sector dipped 1.92 percent to 107.43, Department of Statistics data showed.
The manufacturing sector accounts for more than 90 percent of total industrial production.
Photo: Billy HC Kwok, Bloomberg
Production of electronic components declined 6.92 percent, chemical output fell 2.36 percent and base metal production dropped 3.42 percent, the data showed.
Production in the machinery industry moved 3.32 percent lower and the local auto and auto parts industry reported a 7.01 percent decline in production, they showed.
Despite the declines, local production of computers, electronic devices and optoelectronics logged annual gains of 32.74 percent in terms of output, driven mainly by production diversification efforts among Taiwanese server and networking equipment makers, Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) told a news conference in Taipei.
“The indicators declined at a slower pace than anticipated, as a recovery in commodity and materials prices began to stabilize” last month, Wang said.
Rush orders ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday also spurred an 8 percent annual rise in household goods production, she said.
In particular, Taiwanese businesses have begun to allocate a larger share of production to their home market at the request of multinational customers, Wang said.
Production lines cannot be shifted on a whim and the trend is expected to carry on for some time, which is expected to support the technology sector in the next few months and lend support to Taiwan’s manufacturing sector, she said.
Separately, retail sales last month inched up 0.4 percent monthly and 7.1 percent annually to NT$388.9 billion (US$12.63 billion), the highest for the month of January, the department said.
Sales of food, beverages and tobacco products rose 12.7 percent thanks to a holiday rush, while apparel gained 17.4 percent as promotions and discounts attracted spending, it said.
However, car sales dipped 8.2 percent as consumers are waiting for new model releases, it added.
Food and beverage sector revenues rose 8.4 percent annually due to the earlier holiday this year.
While retail sector sales are expected to fall annually this month, national holidays and Valentine’s Day should lend support to spending, the department said.
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