The nation’s export orders jumped 22 percent year-on-year to US$33.75 billion last month, driven by strong demand for notebooks, smartphones, TVs and servers, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The numbers exceeded the ministry’s own forecast of 15.7 percent growth by a wide margin and represented the seventh consecutive annual expansion, the ministry said.
“Last month’s export orders reflected persistent demand for information and communication technology [ICT] products during the traditionally slow season for consumer electronics,” Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) told a news conference.
Lin said that rising global average sales prices for raw materials contributed to the performances of the nation’s traditional industries, such as steel and petrochemical products.
Monthly orders for ICT and electronic products, Taiwan’s most important exports, expanded by 23.9 percent year-on-year and 15.4 percent year-on-year, to US$9.71 billion and 8.73 billion respectively, Lin said.
Orders for precision instruments surged by 55.1 percent annually to US$2.09 billion last month, supported by strong demand in China and Hong Kong for the larger flat panels used in TVs, she said.
Basic metals, petrochemicals, and rubber and plastics saw double-digit percentage annual growth, because of recovering demand as well as rising sales prices, Lin said.
Lin said more demand for industrial automation drove growth for machinery exports, which posted US$1.65 billion, representing a 20.1 percent year-on-year increase.
Orders from the US rose an annual 21.1 percent to US$9.15 billion last month, mainly driven by demand for notebooks, smartphones, and electronic components, Lin said.
Orders from China and Hong Kong expanded by 40.5 percent annually to US$8.72 billion on the back of robust demand for DRAM, chips and large flat panels, she said.
Combined export orders in the first two months of this year totaled NT$69.72 billion, 12.7 percent higher than the same period last year a historical high, she said.
Looking ahead, Lin said the ministry now forecasts export orders to grow from 2 to 5 percent year-on-year to between US$37.5 billion and US$38.5 billion this month, based on manufacturers’ outlooks.
That would represent monthly growth of between 11 percent and 14 percent, she said.
Lin said the ministry estimates export orders for this quarter as a whole would increase by between 8.9 percent and 9.9 percent from the same period last year.