Gadgets drive nation’s export bump

LITTLE ENGINES::New handheld devices from Apple, Samsung and Sony boosted exports 5.8% month-on-month, and rising holiday demand may sustain the boost

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - Page 13

Supported by the launch of new handheld devices in the global market, the nation’s export orders last month increased for the third consecutive month to US$38.42 billion, up 5.8 percent month-on-month and 2 percent year-on-year, according to a government report released yesterday.

However, the Ministry of Economic Affairs warned that export orders for the whole of this year might contract from last year, despite strong support from the information and communication sector.

During the first nine months of the year, cumulative orders dropped 0.8 percent to US$319.98 billion from the US$322.51 billion a year earlier, the ministry said.

“Export orders continue to receive boost from tech firms’ new mobile devices, and such growth may be sustained throughout the end of the year due to rising holiday demand,” ministry statistics department director Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) said at a press conference.

However, orders for this month are likely to decline slightly from last month, as weakening demand in emerging markets continues, Lin said.

Thanks to new product launches by Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co and Sony Corp last month, Taiwan’s export orders for information and communication products last month expanded 23.3 percent month-on-month and 16.2 percent year-on-year to US$11.05 billion, according to the report.

On the back of strong demand for handheld devices, orders of electronics including semiconductors grew 7.8 percent month-on-month and 5.6 percent year-on-year to US$9.34 billion last month, the report said.

Nevertheless, weak demand in the global market amid slow economic recovery still could not help lift orders for precision equipments and traditional goods made by Taiwanese firms, as the report showed orders for precision equipment last month totaled US$2.92 billion, up 2.5 percent month-on-month increase, but down 17.8 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, orders for basic metals last month decreased 3.9 percent month-on-month and 5.6 percent year-on-year to US$2.15 billion, while orders for machinery dropped 1.7 percent month-on-month and 9.6 percent year-on-year to US$1.55 billion last month.

Because of annual maintenance for local petroleum refining plants, orders for plastics fell 5.3 percent month-on-month and 0.1 percent year-on-year to US$1.93 billion, while those for chemical products decreased 3.9 percent month-on-month and 1 percent year-on-year to US$1.78 billion.

Last month, orders from the US and Europe grew 7 percent and 15.7 percent on an annual basis respectively, while those from China, Japan and ASEAN countries decreased by 6.1 percent, 1.4 percent and 1.4 percent each, according to the report.