Taiwan’s economy last quarter expanded 7.47 percent from a year earlier, 0.54 percentage points faster than last month’s official forecast, thanks to stronger-than-expected exports, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
“The domestic COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc with service-oriented sectors, but did not affect the manufacturing industry, which continued to benefit from the stay-at-home economy and gradual reopenings in the US and Europe,” Wu Pei-shuan (吳佩璇), an official at the agency’s national income section, told an online news conference.
Exports surged 37.35 percent year-on-year from April to June on the back of robust demand for electronics used in smartphones, laptops, TVs and vehicles, as well as artificial intelligence and Internet-of-Things applications.
Outbound shipments of plastic, chemical and base metal products also spiked more than 40 percent as customers around the world rebuilt inventory, DGBAS said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted schools, companies and government agencies to speed up digital transformation, thereby bolstering the selling prices of electronic components and contributing to supply crunches and shipping chaos, it said.
Imports soared 36.38 percent, driven by agricultural and industrial price hikes and avid purchases of capital equipment and consumer goods, the agency’s report showed.
Altogether, external demand contributed 5.19 percentage points to last quarter’s GDP, Wu said.
For the first half of the year, the economy grew 8.19 percent, meriting an upward revision next month, when the statistics agency updates its economic forecast. The official declined to speculate.
Domestically, private consumption shrank 0.55 percent, weighed down by a soft lockdown as the government on May 19 imposed a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert to curb the outbreak, the DGBAS said.
However, retail sales increased 2.29 percent year-on-year as e-commerce flourished, while physical stores and businesses were hit hard, Wu said.
Securities trading also thrived, with daily turnover growing more than twofold, she added.
Still, private consumption dragged GDP growth by 0.2 percentage points, the agency said.
The government lent support by adding 0.34 percentage points to GDP growth as it stepped up COVID-19 testing, vaccination and treatment expenses, DGBAS said.
The second quarter also saw capital formation swell 24.39 percent from a year earlier, as Taiwanese firms build up 5G infrastructure, green energy capacity, shipping vessels and semiconductor capital equipment to meet business needs, Wu said.
Overall, domestic demand made a lackluster contribution of 2.28 percentage points to GDP growth last quarter.
Wu said private consumption would fare better from this month following the conditional opening of entertainment and recreational facilities.
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