Export orders slipped at the fastest rate in four months, falling to US$44.53 billion last month, the 13th month of consecutive annual declines as the US-China trade dispute weakened demand and delayed smartphone launches by global brands, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Last month’s export orders dropped 6.6 percent year-on-year to the weakest since August, ministry statistics showed.
In the first 11 months of this year, export orders dipped 5.9 percent to US$440.77 billion from the same period last year.
Export orders are likely to decline further this month, a survey conducted by the ministry showed.
The ministry said that it expects an improvement in the US-China trade relationship to help demand recover.
It is also optimistic that order momentum would recover with the Lunar New Year holiday next month, as well as increased applications of new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and automotive electronics.
The information and communications technology (ICT) industry, the biggest contributor to the nation’s export orders, saw orders decline 8.1 percent year-on-year to NT$14.94 billion (US$494.5 million) due to lower average selling prices and a high comparison base, the ministry said.
A drop in orders for laptops and tablets exacerbated the decreases, it said.
However, export orders for electronics grew for the second month in a row by 2.2 percent year-on-year to US$12.47 billion, the ministry said, attributing the increase to healthy demand for new applications of technologies, including 5G telecommunications, AI, high-performance computing and wearable devices.
Those devices helped drive demand for foundry services to design ICs and printed circuit boards, for which orders increased by US$450 million and US$140 million respectively, the ministry said.
Optoelectronics makers’ export orders dropped 11 percent year-on-year to US$1.86 billion due to overcapacity-driven weakness in LCD panel prices and shrinking orders for backlight modules, it said.
Traditional industries continued to bear the weight of sluggish global economic growth, with companies across the board posting declines in export orders, it said.
Orders for base-metal products dropped 19.2 percent year-on-year to US$1.94 billion due to falling steel prices, while orders for machinery equipment contracted 9.3 percent year-on-year to US$1.67 billion, which the ministry attributed to growing conservatism in investments.
Flailing international oil prices compounded by the US-China trade dispute dampened sales of petrochemicals, down 18.7 percent year-on-year to US$1.6 billion, as well as plastic and rubber products, down 8 percent to US$1.78 billion from the same period last year, it said.
Orders from the US, the largest destination for Taiwan’s exports, fell 4 percent year-on-year to US$13.88 billion last month, while orders from China, including Hong Kong, edged 1.2 percent lower to US$10.41 billion from a year earlier, it said.
Orders from Europe sank 13.5 percent annually to US$9.58 billion, the ministry said.
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