Taiwanese exports rose 21.3 percent year-on-year last month, fueled by demand from China and other emerging markets in Asia while trade with the US continued to decline, a report released by the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
The report showed that imports accelerated at a quicker pace, or 22.5 percent, last month.
“The export volume hit US$24.3 billion last month, the highest monthly showing in history,” said Hsu Ray-lin (許瑞琳), deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Statistics.
“Imports amounted to US$22.86 billion in the same period, leaving a trade surplus of US$1.49 billion, up 4.9 percent from a year earlier.”
Hsu said the numbers showed the nation continued to enjoy gradual and steady growth in foreign trade despite the economic slowdown in the US, Taiwan’s second-largest trade partner.
Shipments to Hong Kong and China rose 25.5 percent, up from 23.5 percent a month earlier, while exports to India soared 114.7 percent, more than double the gain of 45.9 percent in May, the report said, adding that shipments destined for Europe also jumped 24.2 percent.
Hsu said trade with these markets more than offset falling demand from the US, which has yet to recover from the subprime mortgage crisis.
Shipments to the US dipped 2.6 percent last month after sliding 3.6 percent a month earlier.
“The increasing dependence on emerging markets is expected to sustain the country’s export growth,” Hsu said.
Overseas shipments of information technology and communications products climbed 28 percent, three times the pace of the previous month. Exports of electronics rose 6.2 percent, easing from 12.8 percent.
“Stronger exports will help to boost consumption and economic growth, because Taiwan’s an export-led economy,” Hsu Kuo-an (徐國安), an economist at Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) in Taipei, told Bloomberg.
A stronger economy will give the central bank more room to raise interest rates to tackle inflation, which quickened in June to 4.97 percent, the fastest pace in eight months, according to another report released today.
Pundits were less upbeat.
Kevin Hsiao (蕭正義), a financial analyst at UBS AG, Taipei Branch, said it would be more difficult for Taiwan to show a strong performance in the coming months as inflation could dampen consumer spending and corporate profit margins.
Hsiao said the showing for last month was impressive, but global inflationary pressures could hurt demand for Taiwan’s products if the US dollar remained weak.
The trade surplus decreased by US$2.59 billion to stand at US$7.99 billion for the first six months of this year, Hsiao said.
“It will be more difficult for the country to register a strong export performance in the following months if inflation fails to let up,” Hsiao said.
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