Exports last month surged 15.2 percent year-on-year to US$42.2 billion, the second highest on record and 24th straight month of gains, as global demand for electronics remained strong, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
The growth mainly came from resilient demand for chips used in vehicles, high-performance computing, digital transformation and innovative technology applications, Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) said.
Those same reasons should help exports grow by another 10 to 13 percent this year, and would help exports to grow by 10 to 13 percent this month, aided by the advent of the high sales season in the West, Tsai said.
Last month’s revenue reports by major local firms lent support to the cautiously optimistic view. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s largest chipmaker, posted its second-highest revenue of NT$175.8 billion (US$5.9 billion).
Two days earlier, United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) posted unprecedented sales of NT$24.83 billion.
Exports of electronics swelled 19 percent from a year earlier to US$17.27 billion, with shipments of semiconductors expanding a faster 21.2 percent to US$15.96 billion, the ministry’s monthly report said.
That was despite exports to China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, tumbling 15.8 percent to NS$941.6 billion, Tsai said.
Business activity in the Chinese market has not fully returned to normalcy, although China last month lifted lockdowns in major commercial and industrial cities, she said.
Demand from ASEAN markets, Japan, the US and Europe all expanded by double-digit percentage points, the ministry said.
Shipments of information and communications devices increased 9.1 percent to US$5.37 billion, slowing from double-digit percentage point increases in previous months due to remote working and schooling trends, it said.
Exports of camera lenses showed signs of recovery, but flat-panel prices remained weighed by soft demand, accounting for the 25.7 percent decline in shipments of optical devices, Tsai said.
Non-tech products showed mixed results.
Oil price hikes and a recovery in international travel buoyed exports of mineral products, which surged more than twofold to US$2.16 billion, while exports of plastic and textile products shrank 4.4 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, the ministry said.
Imports expanded 19.2 percent to US$37.56 billion, giving Taiwan a trade surplus of US$4.64 billion, down 9.5 percent from a year earlier, it said.
Imports of agricultural and industrial products, as well as capital equipment, surged 21.8 percent and 14 percent respectively to meet export and capacity expansion needs, the ministry said.
For the second quarter, exports picked up 15.4 percent to US$125.75 billion, largely in line with the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics’ forecast, data showed.
The uptrend in exports might be muted going forward due to a high base last year and softening demand due to surging global inflation, monetary tightening and other unfavorable factors, the statistics agency said.
For the first six months of the year, exports gained 19.2 percent to US$246.68 billion, while imports climbed 24.8 percent to US$218.97 billion, it said.
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