The nation’s export orders last month increased 12.3 percent year-on-year to US$41.12 billion, the best monthly performance for March on record, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
“The results were mainly driven by stronger-than-expected orders from China and Hong Kong for large flat panels used in TVs,” Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) told a news conference.
The growth momentum exceeded the ministry’s forecast of between 2 percent and 5 percent annual growth, Lin said.
Orders for precision instruments — including equipment used in the production of flat panels — last month rose 39.3 percent annually to US$2.42 billion, the fifth straight month of growth, while orders for information and communications technology products grew 10.4 percent to US$11.37 billion and electronics orders expanded 11.9 percent to US$10.72 billion, Lin said.
Orders for traditional sectors, such as basic metals, machinery goods and petrochemical products, expanded by a double-digit percentage from the same period last year due to recovering crude oil and raw material prices, she said.
By destination, the US last month remained the nation’s largest market, with orders growing 15.4 percent annually to US$11.19 billion, driven by demand for information and communications technology products and electronics, while orders from China and Hong Kong rose 19.9 percent year-on-year to a record-high US$10.75 billion on continued shipments of large flat panels, Lin said.
Cumulative export orders in the first three months of this year increased 12.6 percent to US$110.85 billion, the highest first-quarter figures on record, ministry data showed.
Lin forecast export orders for this month would total between US$38.5 billion and US$39.5 billion, a decrease from last month because of seasonal factors, but said the estimate would still be between 16.3 percent and 19.3 percent greater than the US$33.16 billion recorded in April last year.
As for this quarter’s outlook, growth momentum in the electronics industry — amid demand for Internet of Things devices, automotive electronics and cloud-computing applications — could help offset a slow season for smartphones, she said.
Export orders for this quarter are forecast to expand by at least 10 percent from US$102.59 billion in the same period last year, she added.