Industrial output up 4.43% from 2017

POSITIVE FORECAST::The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that production should continue growing this month, as demand for electronic components remains solid

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Aug 24, 2018 - Page 12

The nation’s industrial production climbed 4.43 percent last month from a year earlier, fueled by restocking demand for components, such as semiconductors and camera lenses, ahead of new smartphone launches, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

Last month’s growth strengthened the ministry’s confidence that industrial production would continue its uptrend this quarter, following eight quarters of growth since the third quarter of 2016.

Growth in industrial production decelerated to 0.51 percent in June from a year earlier, due to weak demand for products related to cryptocurrency mining and fewer working days, but “the growth pace last month brings industrial production back on track for healthy growth,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) told a news conference in Taipei.

This month, industrial production is forecast to continue expanding, backed by continuing demand for electronic components and the resumption of operations at of local petrochemical plants following annual maintenance, the ministry said, citing a survey it conducted.

Wang said she expects this month’s showing to be flat compared with the peak level seen in August last year, when local output was supported by new product launches from major global brands.

The survey factored in the effect of a virus attack that disrupted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) operations early this month, Wang said.

TSMC is the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, counting Apple Inc as its top client.

Last month, manufacturing output increased 5 percent from a year earlier, outpacing industrial production’s growth of 4.43 percent, the statistics showed.

In the electronic component segment, which constitutes the bulk of the manufacturing sector, output rose 3.32 percent, thanks to rising demand for memory chips, silicon wafers and other components driven by technological upgrades, the ministry said.

The LCD segment saw its output grow 0.85 percent, breaking five months of annual contraction, on the back of seasonal demand.

Another bright spot last month was the machinery and equipment segment, the output of which rose 12.2 percent, marking its 18th consecutive month of growth, due to robust demand for automation equipment and robotics, the ministry said.

In a separate release, the ministry said that wholesale sector revenues last month rose 4.7 percent annually to a record NT$878.8 billion (US$28.54 billion), driven by strong demand for electronic components, such as mobile phone chips and memory chips, as the industry entered its peak season.

The data showed that retail sector revenues last month grew 3.2 percent to NT$350 billion, although sales of information and communications products, as well as home appliances, shrank 6.2 percent after local telecom operators ended their promotions, the ministry said.