Export orders drop more than forecast

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 13

The nation’s export orders dropped 2.7 percent year-on-year to US$29.89 billion last month due to fewer working days because of national holidays, and fell 23.4 percent from the previous month, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

“The annual decline in export orders was worse than we expected,” Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) told a press conference.

Lin had previously forecast orders for last month would be at least 5 percent higher than the same period last year because of the recovering US economy.

Except for information technology products and machinery goods, export orders for electronics, precision instruments, basic metals, rubber and plastic products and chemical products all saw an annual decline last month, ministry data showed.

Orders for electronic products declined 0.4 percent year-on-year to US$7.68 billion last month, representing the first month of annual decline and the lowest value of export orders since June 2013, Lin said.

“The annual decline in export orders of electronics last month was mainly due to declining orders from China and Hong Kong,” Lin said. “Taiwanese manufacturers need to pay attention to the rising supply-chain localization for electronics products in China.”

Electronics orders from China and Hong Kong last month dropped 2.8 percent, or US$150 million, from a year earlier, the ministry’s data showed.

Orders for Taiwan’s information technology products increased 6.8 percent annually to US$7.98 billion last month, thanks to robust demand from Europe and the US, Lin said.

Orders for machinery goods also rose 4 percent to US$1.54 billion last month from a year ago, mainly driven by rising demand for industrial automation in China and Taiwanese manufacturers’ demand for expanding production capacity in ASEAN, she said.

By country, the US remained the largest export destination for Taiwanese goods, with export orders growing 9.1 percent year-on-year to US$7.91 billion last month on higher demand for electronics and information technology products, Lin said.

Lin said export orders from China and Hong Kong plummeted 8.1 percent to US$7.06 billion last month from a year earlier, affected mainly by declining orders for chemical goods and electronics products.

Combining January and last month’s orders, total value grew 3.2 percent year-on-year to US$68.93 billion, ministry data show.

Lin said that she expects this month’s orders to be better than last month’s but to be flat or decline from last year’s US$37.94 billion due to a higher comparison base.

“The actual benefits to Taiwanese manufacturers brought by Apple Inc’s new wearable products will start to show next month after the products officially hit the markets,” Lin said.

Lin said she is optimistic that the second half of this year will be better than the first half, driven by launches of new handheld devices, wearable products and machine tools.