The nation’s exports last month contracted 0.5 percent to US$28.2 billion, as electronics shipments picked up, but non-technology products remained a drag amid a global slowdown, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
“Exports for the rest of this year might stabilize, but a stalemate in US-China trade talks would limit the benefits of the high season for tech products,” Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) told a media briefing.
Tsai’s guarded optimism came after technology heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) last month gave positive guidance at an investors’ conference, saying that business would improve quarter by quarter.
Semiconductor shipments rose 5.9 percent to US$8.44 billion from a year earlier, outperforming a 1.8 percent growth for overall electronics exports, the mainstay of Taiwan’s trade-focused economy, the ministry said in a report.
Exports of information and communications technology products soared 25.7 percent to US$3.69 billion, as firms relocating their production back to Taiwan continued to benefit year-on-year comparisons and the front-loading effect also came into play, Tsai said.
She said that some clients of Taiwanese manufacturers have strategically built inventory to avoid possible tariff hikes, as an extra 10 percent tariff on US$300 billion of Chinese goods — including smartphones, notebooks, garments and machinery — is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1.
Tsai said that she failed to see a recovery in demand for DRAM chips as a result of a trade dispute between South Korea and Japan.
“Order transfers are not evident if there are any... Soft demand continued to weigh on the market for memory chips,” Tsai said, adding that Japan has a virtual monopoly on three materials used in high-tech devices.
The ongoing slowdown hit old economy sectors harder, as shipments of chemical, plastic and base metal products continued to post double-digit declines without signs of stabilization in sight, she said.
Shipments to all major trading destinations weakened, except for the US, which reported a 21.7 percent increase to US$4.07 billion, a record for July, the report said.
Imports shrank 5.4 percent to US$24.64 billion, as local companies bought less agricultural raw materials and capital expenditure dropped, the report said.
That yielded a trade surplus of US$3.57 billion, a 54.6 percent increase from the same period last year, it added.
Exports might have a similar lackluster performance this month, as the market for high-end smartphones has become increasingly saturated, despite the planned launches of next-generation devices next month, Tsai said.
In the first seven months of the year, exports contracted 3 percent to US$186.43 billion, while imports fell 0.8 percent to US$162.92 billion, the ministry said.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
Tesla Inc is planning to ship vehicles made at its Shanghai Gigafactory to other markets in Asia and Europe, people familiar with the matter said, as the company looks to realize its plan to reduce shipping costs and manufacture vehicles closer to customers. China-built Tesla Model 3s intended for delivery outside China would likely start mass production in the fourth quarter of the year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. They said the markets targeted include Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe, where customers currently have to wait for a Tesla to
Nano-X Imaging Ltd, a start-up founded by Israeli investor Ran Poliakine, is joining forces with South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc to build a machine that could disrupt a century-old X-ray industry. Valued at about US$2 billion after listing on the NASDAQ last month, Nano-X is seeking to transform a multibillion-dollar industry that has essentially relied on the same technology since Nobel Prize in Physics winner Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in the late 19th century. Nano-X’s device uses semiconductors instead of metal filaments to generate X-rays. The backing of SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, is a boost for
Continental AG, which makes control units for Daimler AG cars, cannot pursue antitrust claims against a group of patent owners, including Qualcomm Inc, which are seeking royalties on telecommunications technology, a federal judge in Texas ruled. Avanci LLC, a licensing pool formed by Qualcomm, Nokia Oyj, Sharp Corp and other owners of patents on technology standards, is not breaching antitrust laws when it negotiates license agreements with automakers rather than the component makers, Barbara Lynn, chief district judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in dismissing the suit in a decision posted on Friday. The licensing group charges US$15 per vehicle