Taiwan’s export orders last month expanded 23.3 percent from a year earlier to US$34.88 billion, setting a new record high on the back of strong international demand for Taiwanese electronic components.
Orders for electronic components, which include semiconductors and memory chips, rose 27.2 percent to a historical high of US$8.6 billion last month.
The rise in component orders is in part thanks to Apple Inc’s hot-selling gadgets, such as iPad tablets and the iPhone 4, said Huang Ji-shih (黃吉實), director of the statistics department under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Taiwanese makers produce components from touch panels to battery packs, printed circuit boards and connectors that are assembled to make the two popular Apple gadgets.
Export orders are an indication of Taiwan’s product and components shipments to overseas markets in the next one to three months.
The second-highest record for Taiwanese export orders was set in March at US$34.4 billion, and the third-highest followed in June at US$34.2 billion.
According to the statistics department, cumulative export orders for January to last month totaled US$262.8 billion, showing a rise of 33.5 percent from the same period last year.
Huang said the first eight-month total even surpassed the same period in 2008, a time before the financial crisis took form.
Last month, the country’s biggest export market, China, placed orders worth US$9.3 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 8.8 percent, while its second-largest market, the US, placed 29.4 percent more orders to US$7.7 billion.
Orders from Europe — the third-largest destination — rose 25.8 percent to US$6 billion.
Huang said that despite China placing US$9.3 billion in orders last month, the amount was lower than the peak of US$9.8 billion in March.
“Chinese companies are digesting inventories,” Huang said of the slower orders from across the Taiwan Strait.
However, he said Chinese firms were expected to continue to source Taiwanese products this month, especially handset chips and panels, to prepare for a buying spree during holidays next month.
In terms of product categories, orders for information and communications products — consisting of handsets and notebooks — advanced 35.4 percent from a year earlier to US$8.5 billion in July.
Orders for precision machinery, including panels, expanded 10.7 percent to US$3.3 billion.
Orders are forecast to grow again for this month and next month — traditional peak months in which Taiwan receives most of its orders, judging from the pattern in the last few years, Huang said.
The department also said Typhoon Fanapi may help local petrochemical products.
“Production may have been impacted. A shortage of petrochemical products will drive up selling prices, therefore increasing the order amount,” Huang said.