Export orders last month slipped 4.9 percent year-on-year to US$45.53 billion, the 11th consecutive month of annual decline, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday, adding however that on a monthly basis, they rose 13.7 percent.
Orders for information and communications technology (ICT) products declined slightly by 1 percent from a year earlier to US$15.42 billion last month as market demand for laptops and servers remained weak, the ministry said.
The ICT sector has nevertheless seen improvements, with orders increasing 47.2 percent on a monthly basis, after new smartphone models hit the market last month, it said.
Export orders for electronics declined 4.3 percent annually to US$12.37 billion, which the ministry blamed on a high comparison base, as well as falling prices for DRAM and passive components.
On a brighter note, orders for PC chips and other ICs increased thanks to brand vendors replenishing their inventories in preparation for year-end sales, while 5G deployment is steadily picking up speed, the ministry said.
As the flat-panel market remained swamped by Chinese products, optoelectronics makers saw their orders decline 2.5 percent annually to US$2.01 billion last month, it said.
However, orders for backlight modules grew, due to new smartphone models requiring camera lens modules, the ministry said.
Non-tech manufacturers continued to face strong headwinds, with demand hurt by the US-China trade dispute, it said.
Out of the four main non-tech categories, petrochemical products suffered the most, with export orders dropping 28.7 percent to US$1.48 billion due to falling international crude oil prices in an oversaturated market, it said.
Orders for plastics and rubber goods declined 6.5 percent, base metal orders fell 18.9 percent and machinery equipment orders slipped 12.1 percent, the ministry said.
Overall, export orders in the third quarter totaled US$126.1 billion, down 5.4 percent from a year earlier, but up 9.8 percent from the previous quarter, ministry data showed.
That brought total export orders in the first three quarters to US$348.96 billion, a decrease of 6.1 percent from the same period last year, the data showed.
A survey that it conducted among exporting companies showed that orders are expected to improve this month compared with last month, the ministry said.
For this quarter, demand for ICT products and electronics goods is predicted to continue growing due to the arrival of the high sales season, the launch of new products and the emergence of new technological applications, the ministry said.
However, the order outlook for non-tech industries could remain under pressure due to the slowing global economy and trade tensions, it said.
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