Jan 09, 2017 Legal Comments Off on Taiwan reports 3rd consecutive month of export growth (update)
Taiwan's exports grew year-on-year for the third consecutive month in December because of strong global demand for electronic gadgets and a rebound in raw material prices, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.
In December, Taiwan's outbound sales rose 14 percent from a year earlier to US$25.7 billion, making it the third straight monthly year-on-year increase, the MOF said.
The December figure was also 1.4 percent higher than the previous month, the data showed.
The ministry said the December increase in exports was the highest year-on-year growth for a single month since January 2013, when the country's outbound sales rose 21.94 percent from the same period the previous year.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Taiwan's exports totaled US$77.78 billion, up 11.7 percent from a year earlier, but that was still not enough to prevent a 1.7 percent drop in exports for the year as a whole to US$280.4 billion.
The fourth-quarter export growth beat the 7.2 percent growth forecast of the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, said Tsai Mei-na (???), head of the MOF's statistics department.
Tsai said the better-than-expected growth indicated that demand toward the end of the year was very solid, in particular in the high-tech sector.
Exports of electronics components in December rose 24.3 percent from a year earlier, with integrated circuit exports up 29.2 percent and exports of information/communications and audio/video products up 9.3 percent from a year earlier.
Outbound shipments of optoelectronics products also gained 16.0 percent year-on-year in December, the statistics showed.
Tsai said sales of raw materials also bounced back, helped by a relatively low base of comparison, as a recovery in sales prices boosted export value during the month.
According to the MOF, export growth in December for different raw materials was 12.2 percent for rubber/plastics products, 10.2 percent for chemical items and 15.5 percent for base metals.
In another important category for Taiwanese manufacturers, exports of machinery rose 7.7 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.
For 2016 as a whole, exports of electronic components rose 8.1 percent year-on-year to a record US$92.83 billion, backed by 11.6 percent growth in semiconductor exports.
Tsai said Taiwan's electronics sector benefited from solid demand for Taiwan's IC products from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, where Taiwan's electronics exports grew more than 20 percent year-on-year in 2016.
Outbound sales of optoelectronics, rubber and plastics, and chemical items posted year-on-year declines ranging between 5.6 percent and 11.3 percent in 2016, the MOF said.
The Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) was upbeat about Taiwan's export performance for the first quarter of this year, expecting demand for electronic components and information/communications devices to remain strong.
Though the BOFT was cautiously optimistic about exports in 2017, it still voiced caution about uncertainty resulting from such factors as the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has advocated protectionism, and a move for the United Kingdom to kick off the Brexit process in March.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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