The nation’s industrial production last month increased 10.73 percent year-on-year on the back of increased demand for information and communications technology products amid growing need for work-from-home and distance-learning equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Last month’s figure was a record high and marked an eighth consecutive month of annual growth, the ministry said.
On a monthly basis, industrial production rose 2.5 percent.
In contrast with the technology sector, traditional industries have been much harder hit by the pandemic, but they are also recovering, the ministry said.
“Traditional industries are coming back thanks to gradually improving COVID-19 conditions,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) said.
Notably, the mechanical equipment and basic metals sectors returned to the positive territory for the first time since the pandemic hit.
Huang attributed the revival of these traditional sectors to a gradual reopening of businesses globally.
Mechanical equipment production grew 10.15 percent year-on-year. Cumulatively from January to last month, production has fallen by 6.8 percent year-on-year.
Base metals production grew 4.9 percent year-on-year, ending six months of contraction. However, in the first nine months of the year production fell 4.1 percent year-on-year.
“A rise in steel prices is a factor driving customers to place orders,” Huang said.
Carpentry and woodworking equipment sales to North America were up markedly, he said.
“Perhaps since people are stuck at home, they have turned to home improvement,” he added.
Chemical materials production rose 7.9 percent year-on-year, as the revival in economic activity worldwide as lockdowns lifted caused businesses to replenish their stock.
However, petrochemical and coal products fell by 14.27 percent, due to lingering low demand attributed to the pandemic and production disruption from industrial accidents, the ministry said.
Electronic components production continued to be strong, growing 15.7 percent year-on-year, the 10th straight month of double-digit percentage growth. Production in the first nine months of the year grew 20.8 percent year-on-year.
Thanks to continued work-from-home demand, production of flat panels and related components grew 10.6 percent year-on-year, while computers and optical products grew 21.8 percent year-on-year.
The ministry forecast that industrial production this month would increase on a year-on-year basis, but it would likely fall from last month’s record figure.
“There are only 19 working days in October versus 23 days in September because of national holidays,” Huang said. “This might make production appear to drop a little compared with September.”
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