The nation’s export orders dropped for a fourth consecutive month last month, despite strong global demand for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones buoying orders for tech products, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.
Export orders last month dipped 0.4 percent to US$36.33 billion, from US$36.47 billion in the same period last year. Compared with US$35.69 billion in April this year, the figure represents monthly growth of 1.8 percent.
During the first five months of the year, accumulated orders decreased 1.3 percent to US$174.03 billion from US$176.36 billion in the same period last year.
“Month by month, the annual decrease in export orders this year is closing to zero percent, which is a positive indication of a recovering global economy,” Taipei-based Standard Chartered Bank economist Tony Phoo (符銘財) said by telephone.
Phoo said improvements in orders for information and communications technology (ICT) products as well as for electronic components showed that global demand for computing products remains robust.
Growth in US orders — which were up 2.4 percent month-on-month and 2.9 percent year-on-year to US$9 billion last month — also reflected the positive outcome of the US government’s policies aimed at boosting a stagnating economy, Phoo said.
The US was Taiwan’s second-largest source of export orders after China last month.
“There is a strong likelihood that export orders could achieve year-on-year growth during the second half of the year if the US economy continues its recovery and if orders for tech products increase during peak seasons,” Phoo said.
Yesterday’s data showed that orders for ICT products increased 2.6 percent year-on-year to US$9.23 billion last month, driven by demand for handheld devices, especially new products launched this quarter, said Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞), director-general of the finance ministry’s statistics department.
Supported by strong demand for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, orders for electronics components including chips manufactured by advanced semiconductor process technologies grew 1 percent month-on-month to US$8.45 billion, although this represented a 0.8 percent year-on-year decline, Lin said.
Orders for plastics and rubber products grew 5 percent month-on-month and 1.4 percent year-on-year to US$2.16 billion last month because of increased demand for materials from China and ASEAN nations, she added.
“If the growth momentum is sustained, export orders during the second half of the year are likely to increase from the first half,” Lin said.
The ministry forecast this month’s orders would achieve year-on-year growth due to a low comparison base last year.
“Students’ back-to-school demand for PC products, and flat-screen TV makers’ aggressive marketing strategies are expected to continue boosting orders at chip design and manufacturing businesses this month,” she added.