Thu, May 02, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Wholesale sector falls on slowing growth, demand

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s wholesale sector in March saw its revenue decline 5.7 percent to NT$826.8 billion (US$26.75 billion), from NT$876.4 billion in the same period last year.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that brought wholesale revenue in the first quarter of this year down 1.9 percent annually from NT$2.43 trillion to NT$2.39 trillion.

Slowing economic growth worldwide and sluggish demand for smartphones and consumer electronics, as well as a decline in memory prices, were the main contributors to last quarter’s contraction, the Department of Statistics said on Tuesday last week.

Wholesale revenue from construction materials and chemicals fell 9.7 percent and 15.5 percent annually respectively, as prices flattened due to sagging demand for raw materials used to create steel and chemicals, it said.

The automotive sector’s wholesale revenue declined 9.9 percent, partly because of a high base in March last year, the ministry said.

Global automakers delaying deliveries in March also contributed to the decline, it said.

Revenue in the retail sector increased 0.6 percent year-on-year to NT$344.1 billion, spurred by the general merchandise retail industry, which reported annual growth of 6 percent, the ministry said.

Department store sales rose 9 percent year-on-year, benefiting from recent openings and early launches of Mother’s Day discounts, it said.

Supermarket sales increased 8.5 percent due to rewards points programs, while convenience stores declined 1.8 percent because of a higher number of rainy days, which lowered average customer flow, the ministry added.

The direct sales industry grew 6.3 percent year-on-year, with sales increasing in various segments, such as sports and leisure; food and beverage; and consumer communications products, the ministry said, attributing the growth to cross-industry cooperation, new smartphone launches and spring break travel.

Retail sector revenue in the first quarter inched up 0.01 percent to NT$1.55 trillion, the highest in several years, it said.

The wholesale sector is expected to continue shrinking over the next few months due to falling prices for memory chips, display panels and electronics, as well as weakening demand for traditional goods, the ministry said.

The retail sector is expected to improve, thanks to Mother’s Day sales and deliveries of new vehicles, it said.

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