Wed, Aug 21, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Export orders down for ninth month

COMPARISON BASE:ICT orders improved slightly on a monthly basis, but were down 3.2% annually, as growing trade tensions last year drove overseas clients to rush orders

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

Export orders last month declined 3 percent year-on-year to US$40.53 billion, falling for the ninth consecutive month, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

While orders of information and communications technology (ICT) products, the nation’s most lucrative category, slightly improved by 0.1 percent on a monthly basis, it declined by 3.2 percent on an annual basis to US$11.11 billion, the ministry said, blaming the annual decline on a relatively high comparison base last year.

“A lot of overseas clients rushed orders from July to September last year, when trade tensions between the US and China started to rise,” Statistics Department Director Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲) told a news conference.

However, Huang said that she expects positive year-on-year order growth for ICT products in the coming months.

Export orders of electronics last month declined by 1.3 percent year-on-year to US$10.56 billion due to clients’ inventory adjustments of DRAM chips and passive components, the ministry said.

“We are nevertheless seeing growth in demand for wafer foundry, wafer probe and packaging services,” Huang said. “Orders are picking up.”

Export orders of optical equipment declined 8.8 percent to US$1.93 billion as the industry continued to suffer the repercussions of an oversupply of LCD panels, the ministry said.

Orders of base metal products and machinery equipment also plummeted 16.1 percent and 19.7 percent to US$2.15 billion and US$1.67 billion respectively, reflecting the effects of US and European steel tariffs, and conservative investment among companies, the ministry said.

Export orders of petrochemicals and plastics/rubber slipped 5.3 percent and 7.4 percent to US$1.85 billion and US$1.92 billion respectively, the data showed.

Falling international crude oil prices and the effects of the US-China trade spat were the main culprits of the decline, the ministry said.

While export orders from the US, China, Hong Kong, Europe and ASEAN all decreased last month from a year earlier, those from Japan increased 0.7 percent due to strong demand for video game consoles and base metal products, it said.

Overall, export orders for the first seven months reached US$263.39 billion, down 6 percent year-on-year, it added.

“We expect export orders to improve this month, but the US-China trade conflict is still ongoing... There is a lot of uncertainty,” Huang said, adding that she remains optimistic as the electronics industry enters its peak season.

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