The nation’s industrial production contracted for a third consecutive month last month as growth in the semiconductor industry was offset by a decline in traditional sectors, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Last month, the industrial production index slid 0.88 percent year-on-year to 99.71 points, after a 11.17 percent drop in February and a 3 percent fall in March, the ministry said in a report.
Manufacturing — which accounted for up to 92.76 percent of the nation’s total factory output last month and includes the electronics, chemicals, machineries and textile industries — narrowed 1.32 percent month-on-month and 1.18 percent year-on-year to 100.02 points last month, according to the report.
Supported by strong demand for mobile devices, which boosted orders for semiconductors, mobile chips as well as LED lighting products and panels used in smartphones and tablets, electronic component production last month grew 5.05 percent year-on-year, the ministry’s statistics department Deputy Director-General Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯) told a press conference.
During the first four months of the year, electronic component production expanded 6.66 percent from the same period of last year, he added.
However, Yang said consolidation in the traditional industries market was the main cause of the three-month contraction in industrial output.
“Machinery and textile makers reported that their production last month was affected by a depreciation of the yen,” Yang said.
“Although the yen’s depreciation lowered the price of imported automobiles, it led consumers to anticipate further depreciation, which did not help boost the nation’s automobile market as a result,” he added.
Yang said machinery production dropped by 10.98 percent year-on-year last month, PC and electronic products and optical products dropped 7.96 percent and production in the automobile sector fell 5.97 percent.
Yang added that a drop in machinery production was mainly caused by decreased orders on domestic suppliers amid a sluggish global economy, and was not caused by the yen’s depreciation.
Assuming traditional industries, including steel and machinery making sectors, improve in the second half of the year, Yang forecast the nation’s industrial production would achieve growth soon, as growth in semiconductor production remains strong.
Meanwhile, the ministry yesterday released a separate report showing that sales in the retail, restaurant and wholesale sectors last month grew 1 percent year-on-year to NT$1.15 trillion (US$38.71 billion).
Sales in the wholesale, retail and restaurant sectors are expected to achieve month-on-month growth this month as a result of Mother’s Day sales, an increase in Chinese tourists and the Dragon Boat Festival, the ministry said.