Taiwan’s COVID-19 outbreak continued to batter domestic demand last month, especially in the food and beverage sector, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Food and beverage sales were NT$42.6 billion (US$1.52 billion), up 11.1 percent month-on-month but down 38.8 percent year-on-year, as the nation was under a level 3 COVID-19 alert for most of the month and dine-in services only took off gradually afterward.
“In July last year, the food and beverage sector was starting a proper recovery from the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) said. “However, this July, it was still bearing the full brunt of a more serious outbreak.”
Photo: Lin Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Despite the COVID-19 alert being lowered to level 2 with the resumption of dine-in services in many cities, including Taipei and New Taipei City, Huang said that recovery of sales in the food and beverage sector would be sluggish.
“We might need to wait for the next round of stimulus vouchers before we see a more comprehensive recovery in the food and beverage sector,” Huang said.
The retail sector was also affected by COVID-19 restrictions, although to a lesser degree, the ministry said.
Retail sales totaled NT$301.5 billion, down 10.3 percent year-on-year but up 13.2 percent month-on-month, ministry data showed.
E-commerce platforms benefited from the pandemic-driven economy, with sales increasing 23.4 percent year-on-year to NT$23.5 billion, as did supermarkets, with sales rising 19.9 percent to NT$23 billion, and big-box stores, with sales rising 9.1 percent to NT$21.1 billion — each achieving a July record, the ministry said.
The nation’s wholesale sector bucked the trend by smashing a July record with sales of NT$1.063 trillion, up 11.1 percent year-on-year, which Huang attributed to continued high demand for 5G and artificial intelligence applications, and remote working devices, as well as the rising cost of raw materials.
“Most of the orders for wholesalers came from overseas amid a global economic recovery,” Huang said. “Wholesalers benefited more from overseas markets and were less affected by the local COVID-19 outbreak.”
In the first seven months of the year, food and beverage sales fell 7.4 percent year-on-year to NT$404.1 billion, while retail sales rose 3.3 percent to NT$2.22 trillion and wholesale trade increased 17.3 percent to NT$6.83 trillion, ministry data showed.
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