The production value of the nation’s manufacturing sector last quarter plunged 15.01 percent on an annual basis to NT$3.16 trillion (US$96.17 billion) — its worst showing since the first quarter of 2010 — the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The figure shows that the sector’s decline has accelerated from the second quarter’s 9.21 percent fall, and marks the steepest decline since the global financial crisis in 2009, the ministry said.
On a quarterly basis, the sector’s production value declined 5.14 percent.
“The manufacturing sector’s production value in the past quarter was heavily influenced by the fall in global crude oil prices and a decline in the value of basic metals,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Yang Kuei-hsien (楊貴顯) said by telephone, adding that the drop in oil prices affected demand for Taiwan’s petrochemical products.
“Average oil prices in the third quarter plunged more than 50 percent on an annual basis,” he said.
Due to its economic slowdown, China’s third-quarter orders for Taiwan’s petrochemical products fell steeply from the same period last year, Yang said.
As a result, the production value of the nation’s petrochemical products plummeted 25.13 percent on a yearly basis, he said.
The production value of the nation’s basic metals dropped 27.55 percent year-on-year in the July-to-September quarter, mainly due to a fall in average selling prices and a global oversupply of stainless steel, Yang said.
The electronic components industry, which is the pillar of the nation’s manufacturing sector, saw production value drop 8.45 percent last quarter on an annual basis due to soft demand for consumer electronics products and fierce global competition, he said.
Within the electronic components industry, the production value of flat panels fell 20.27 percent year-on-year and that of machinery goods slowed 7.33 percent in the last quarter, the ministry’s data showed.
The solar power industry was one of the few bright spots in the nation’s manufacturing sector last quarter, Yang said, with production value increasing both annually and quarterly.
“Taiwan’s solar power industry has slowly moved out from the shadows of the US’s anti-dumping tariffs issue. In addition, China’s demand for the nation’s solar power is growing strongly,” Yang said.
Robust demand for Taiwan’s solar power products is expected to maintain into this quarter, he said.
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