Sep 07, 2018 Market Comments Off on Taiwan exports up almost 2% in August (update)
Taipei, Sept. 7 (CNA) Taiwan's exports rose almost 2 percent in August from a year earlier, marking the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year increase, on the back of solid worldwide demand amid global economic growth, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Friday.
MOF data showed that Taiwan's exports totaled US$28.3 billion in August, up 1.9 percent from a year earlier, but down 0.2 percent from a month earlier.
Meanwhile, imports rose 7.9 percent year-on-year in August to US$23.77 billion, with a trade surplus of US$4.53 billion, which was a US$1.2 billion decrease from a year earlier, the data indicated.
In the first eight months of this year, Taiwan's outbound sales increased 8.9 percent from a year earlier to US$220.48 billion, a record high for that period, the MOF data showed.
Imports grew by 11.7 percent year-on-year to US$188.17 billion in the eight-month period, while the trade surplus fell by US$1.72 billion to US$32.32 billion, according to the MOF.
However, the year-on-year growth in August has moderated from the previous months' growth due to a relatively high comparison base over the same period of last year.
The 1.9 percent year-on-year increase was shy of July's 4.7 percent, June's 9.4 percent, May's 14.2 percent, April's 10.0 percent and March's 16.7 percent.
Tsai Mei-na (???), director of the MOF statistics department, told journalists that exports for September could fall from a year earlier as outbound sales in the same month last year got a significant boost from the launch of Apple Inc.'s signature iPhone X.
But for the entire 2018, Tsai said, Taiwan's exports could top the current record high of US$320.1 billion seen in 2014 to hit a fresh peak based on the growth in the past eight months.
In terms of industries, in August, outbound sales posted by the local electronics sector totaled US$9.76 billion, up 1.3 percent from a year earlier. The relatively small growth reflected a higher comparison base last year for the semiconductor industry and a steeper decline in flat panel exports, the MOF said.
Exports posted by the local semiconductor industry rose only 0.4 percent from a year earlier to US$8.39 billion in August, it said.
In August, exports of machinery and plastics/rubber items rose 1.8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to US$2.31 billion and US$2.11 billion, while outbound sales in base metal fell 3.5 percent to US$2.44 billion, the data showed.
Exports in information communications and audio/video devices rose 0.3 percent from a year earlier to about US$2.90 billion in August, while outbound sales in optoelectronic devices fell 14.3 percent to US$998 million, the data indicated.
The MOF said China/Hong Kong remained the largest buyer of Taiwan's goods in August, accounting for 41.5 percent of total exports. The value stood at US$11.73 billion, up 3.0 percent from a year earlier, the MOF added.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) came in second after buying US$4.73 billion worth of goods from Taiwan in August, making up 16.7 percent of the total, a fall of 11.5 percent from a year earlier, the MOF said.
Tsai said the decline in exports to the ASEAN bloc largely reflected a fall in electronics sales to Singapore, as well as a decline in mineral sales to the Philippines.
Taiwan's exports to the U.S. market rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier to US$3.33 billion in August, while exports to Europe and Japan hit US$2.64 billion and US$1.85 billion, respectively, up 6.7 percent and 7.6 percent from a year earlier, the MOF added.
Looking ahead, Tsai said Taiwanese exporters should stay alert over global trade frictions, the fluctuations in the Taiwan dollar, and rising competition, in particular from efforts by China to cultivate its own industries.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel