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Taiwan May exports fall short of market expectations

Publication Date : 10-06-2014


Taiwan's exports in May grew 1.4 per cent to US$26.67 billion, while imports dipped 2.3 per cent to US$21.38 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$5.29 billion, according to a report released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) yesterday.

May marked the fourth consecutive month of growth in exports, according to the report. However, the 1.4 per cent growth was lower than the market expectation of 4.5 per cent.

Among export products, electronic products rose by 15.2 per cent to US$8.56 billion, which was a new record. All sub-categories saw double-digit growth, such as the 16 per cent for integrated circuits, 37.7 per cent for solar batteries, 15.1 per cent for storage media and 11.3 per cent for diodes.

Exports of chemical products grew 10.3 per cent to US$1.87 billion. However, shipments of mineral products, information and communication technology (ICT) products and optical instruments saw substantial decline of 22 per cent, 21.2 per cent and 15.9 per cent, respectively, in May.

As annual repair and maintenance halted plant operation, mineral product output and exports dropped, the MOF said.

Among ICT products, exports of mobile phones dropped 37.2 per cent and mobile phone parts and components went down 15.1 per cent as well. In addition to lower-than-expected sales, the drop also reflected the fact that some production facilities have moved overseas, and their output is not factored into the MOF's statistics, said MOF Statistics Department Director Yeh Maan-tzwu.

Imports went down 2.3 per cent in May, which was the first time in four months.

Imports of capital equipment went down 8.5 per cent to US$3.07 billion, with machinery declining by US$660 million, and airplanes growing by US$340 million.

Imports of agricultural and industrial raw materials declined 2 per cent to US$15.92 billion, with mineral products dropping by US$740 million, and electronic parts and components growing by US$230 million.

Imports of consumer products grew 10.3 per cent to US$2.23 billion, with food products growing by US$120 million while sedans grew by US$50 million, equivalent to a 23.6-per cent and 19.9-per cent increase, respectively. The growth reflected higher household incomes and an improved job market.

Except for Asean-6 countries, exports to all major markets around the globe grew in May. Exports to mainland China, Japan, the U.S. and Europe grew 6.4 per cent, 2.6 per cent, 1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively. Exports to Asean-6 countries dropped 4.5 per cent.

Exports to mainland China (including Hong Kong) totaled US$11.06 billion, which was a record high since August 2011. Exports of electronics products grew by US$910 million, a 24.1-per cent increase.

Exports to the U.S. and the eurozone have grown for five consecutive months, indicating a recovery in Western markets, said Tony Phoo, a Taipei-based economist of Standard Chartered. The arrival of new handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets around the globe has aided domestic companies in reaping higher profits in May, Phoo said.


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