The value of export orders dropped 4 percent annually to US$37.32 billion last month, as soft demand for handheld devices from China offset the demand for handheld devices from other regions, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
This is the first time the nation’s export order values dropped annually since July 2013, the ministry said. On a monthly basis, the value fell 2.9 percent from March’s US$38.43 billion.
“Export orders for electronics dropped 0.9 percent annually to US$9.67 billion last month for the first time since June 2013, mainly due to fewer orders for semiconductor products for handsets because of weakening demand in the Chinese market,” Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) told a news conference in Taipei.
The continuing decline in orders from Japan for televisions also dragged down the export performance for electronics products, she said.
Orders for information technology products grew 6.1 percent annually to US$10.05 billion last month, following 12.9 percent annual growth in the previous month, as the weak demand for PCs and tablets offset rising orders for handheld devices, Lin said.
The ministry’s report showed broader declines in export orders for electronics, precision instruments, basic metals, petrochemicals and machinery products last month from a year ago, with those for precision instruments falling 13.6 percent to US$2.37 billion due to the softening demand of flat-panels for PC and smartphones, Lin said.
Orders for machine products declined 5.3 percent annually to US$1.85 billion last month, the first annual decline in the past 15 months, as the yen and euro volatilities affected competitiveness of local machine products, she said.
The US was still the nation’s largest export destination by country, with orders growing 14 percent annually to US$10.59 billion last month, the ministry said.
Orders from China and Hong Kong plunged 10.3 percent to US9.17 billion from a year ago, the deepest annual decline since August 2009, the ministry said, because of the rising localization of supply chains in China.
The continuing decline in international crude oil prices also affected the export order values for Taiwanese petrochemical products to China because of the falling average selling prices, the ministry said.
The value of export orders is expected to rebound this month, Lin said, citing increasing demand for handheld devices to benefit Taiwan’s information technology products.
However, this month’s value is likely to be flat or decline slightly from last year’s US$38.02 billion because of a higher base last year and the lack of growth catalyst this month, she said.
Export order performance in the second half of this year will to be better, fueled by the upcoming launch of an international brand’s new smartphones, she said.
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