Taiwan’s export orders totaled a record US$57.78 billion last month, up 12 percent month-on-month and 29.7 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The better-than-expected results were boosted by “a certain recently released smartphone product by an international company,” Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲) told a news conference in Taipei.
Apple Inc, which used to release its new iPhone models in September, delayed this year’s launch to Oct. 23 due to production disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can’t give exact figures, but it’s quite clear that the smartphone launch in question has had a very substantial effect,” Huang said. “It partially explains why 59.2 percent of the goods supplied by Taiwanese exporters were manufactured abroad,” up 3.3 percentage points year-on-year.
The trend of local manufacturers moving their production back home is “here to stay,” but iPhones are mostly made by Taiwanese contract manufacturers in China, she said.
Export orders for information and communication technology (ICT) products hit a record high of US$20.82 billion, up 39.4 percent year-on-year, on the back of seasonal demand for laptops and tablets, as well as the iPhone launch, Huang said.
Orders for electronic products also set a record of US$17.19 billion, up 37.8 percent year-on-year, while optical product orders were US$2.37 billion, up 27.8 percent year-on-year, ministry data showed.
Non-tech industries also posted growth in orders last month, with plastic product orders increasing 20 percent year-on-year to US$2.14 billion, basic metal orders advancing 25.2 percent to US$2.43 billion and mechanical products climbing 11.5 percent to US$1.86 billion.
Only orders for chemical products dipped on depressed international oil prices, falling 4.4 percent to US$1.53 billion, the data showed.
The US accounted for US$18.13 billion of all export orders, up 30.6 percent annually, while US$12.83 billion of orders came from China and Hong Kong, up 23.3 percent, and US$14.39 billion of orders came from Europe, up 50.2 percent.
In the first 11 months of this year, total export orders increased 7.3 percent year-on-year to US$473.11 billion, the ministry said.
Export orders are forecast to total US$56.5 billion to NT$58 billion next month, which would translate into a 2.2 percent monthly decline and a 29 percent annual increase on the low end of the estimate, and a 0.4 percent monthly increase and a 32.5 percent annual increase on the high end, the ministry said.
This means for the whole year estimated export orders would be US$529.7 billion to US$531.1 billion, or annual growth of 9.3 to 9.6 percent, the ministry said.
“While this rate of growth in export orders is not exactly historic, it is remarkable that we are able to accomplish this in a pandemic year,” Huang said.
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