Industrial production rises 2.39 percent

FALTERING CONFIDENCE::A government poll showed that 64.3 percent of companies expect the index to remain flat this month, while 24.3 percent forecast it would slide

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jan 24, 2013 - Page 13

The industrial production index expanded for a sixth consecutive month last month, aided by a gradual global economic recovery and domestic restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Last month, the index rose 2.39 percent year-on-year to 128.57 points, following November’s 5.87 percent growth, but fell 2.55 percent month-on-month, the ministry said in a report.

Manufacturing — which accounts for more than 90 percent of the nation’s total factory output and includes the electronics, chemicals, machinery, foodstuff and textile industries — grew 2.84 percent year-on-year to 130.99 points last month, but slid 2.19 percent from a month earlier, the report showed.

Based on the four major manufacturing divisions, information technology output grew 7.96 percent year-on-year last month, while chemicals output rose 3.14 percent, Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯), deputy director-general of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference.

However, consumer goods output — including food, textiles, tobacco products and apparel — fell 5.55 percent year-on-year, while metals and machinery output dropped 3.87 percent, Yang said.

A narrower classification by sector showed that electronics components output grew 10.67 percent year-on-year last month, driven by the strong demand for mobile devices, as well as restocking demand for silicon wafers, flat-panel displays and IC packaging ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

For the full year, electronics components output hit a record-high 210.19 points, rising 3.69 percent from 2011, the report showed.

Machinery equipment output fell 17.56 percent last month, as demand was flat amid a weak global economy. It and shrank by 11.69 percent for the full year.

Overall, the industrial production index contracted 0.09 percent last year from the previous year. In the final quarter of last year, it fell 1.29 percent quarter-on-quarter, but rose 4.37 percent year-on-year.

With short-term solutions emerging for the US “fiscal cliff,” projected higher output from petrochemical companies and stable demand for steel and mobile devices, the industrial production index would continue to grow this quarter, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, a ministry survey showed that 64.3 percent of companies polled expected industrial production to remain flat this month, 11.4 percent thought it would increase and 24.3 percent forecast it would decline.

Separately, the ministry also released its latest data on domestic trade, which showed that revenue for the wholesale, retail and restaurant sectors grew 2.9 percent to NT$1.21 trillion (US$41.84 billion) last month from a year earlier.

The ministry attributed the growth to strong sales of mobile devices, improved year-end sales of home appliances, car dealers’ discounts and restaurants’ holiday promotions.

For the full year, revenue generated from the wholesale, retail and restaurant sectors totaled NT$14.21 trillion, down 0.4 percent from 2011, with the revenues of retailers and restaurants growing 2.4 percent and 3.6 percent respectively, while wholesalers’ revenue decreased 1.6 percent year-on-year, it said.