Taiwan’s manufacturing sector last month struggled for a fourth consecutive month because of slowing global economic growth and a long period of inactivity due to the Lunar New Year holiday, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The institute’s composite index for the manufacturing sector rose 0.26 points from a month earlier to 10.18, but the figure was still “blue,” signaling contraction according to its five-color system to describe economic activity, TIER said in a report.
However, the institute said that manufacturers might be more upbeat over the next few months given the slight rise in the composite index.
Of the five subindices that make up the composite index, general business climate and demand rose 0.18 and 0.14 respectively from a month earlier, while pricing and purchases of raw materials fell 0.05 and 0.01 respectively, with operating costs remaining unchanged, the institute said.
The report said that the electronics and electronics component sector remained “blue” last month because of a decline in shipments by semiconductor companies, which faced inventory adjustments, as well as lower capacity utilization and sales.
With car tire demand in China on the decline due to a weakening auto market, the local plastics and rubber industry also remained “blue” last month, the report said.
The machinery industry remained “yellow-blue,” signaling sluggish growth, on weak demand from China and a relatively high comparison base a year earlier, it said.
The auto and automotive parts industry was again “blue” for the month on lower sales of domestically produced cars, while Taiwan’s base metals industry was also “blue” again, hurt by trade friction between the US and China, the report said.
Despite the nation’s manufacturing doldrums in the past several months, the institute said it believed that a double-digit growth in semiconductor production equipment imports bodes well for the manufacturing sector’s overall performance later this year.
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