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September jump ends Taiwan's export slump

Publication Date : 09-10-2012


Taiwan's exports rose 10 per cent from a year earlier in September to US$27.17 billion, ending a streak of six consecutive monthly declines, the Ministry of Finance reported yesterday,

The figure represents a 14-month high in monthly growth while annual increase hits 10.4 per cent, according to ministry statistics.

Taiwan's imports last month totalled US$23.09 billion, an 8-per cent monthly increase, leaving the country with a surplus of US$4.08 billion — a 125.4-per cent growth year-on-year.

Exports during the January-September period totalled US$223.56 billion, down 3.9 per cent from the same period last year.

Imports during the nine-month period amounted to US$203.99 billion, a 5-per cent fall on an annual basis, leaving the country with a surplus of US$19.57 billion for the period, ministry tallies show.

Pre-Christmas buying has turned around the slackening demand for the island's high-tech and other goods.

The Finance Ministry said that Southeast Asia has shown its economic strength by buying US$5.4 billion worth of Taiwanese goods in the month, up 41 per cent from a year earlier. Exports to China rose 6 per cent.

Imports totalled US$23 billion in the month, up 1.3 per cent.

For the first nine months, Taiwanese exports fell 3.9 per cent from a year earlier to US$224 billion.

Exports have been hurt partially by HTC Corp.

Taiwan's largest smartphone maker said yesterday that its July-September revenue totalled US$2.4 billion, down 40 per cent from the same quarter last year.

Gordon Sun, an economist at the Taipei-based Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, attributed the positive growth in September mainly to a low base of comparison in September 2011, when the global economy began a downturn.

“It is still hard to tell (if the economy will pick up), given that there is only one month of positive data,” Sun cautioned.

A clearer picture will be available after the government releases data later in the month on the value of export orders received by Taiwanese companies in September, he said.

The export-order figures indicate potential export shipments over the next one to three months, he said.

President Ma Ying-jeou said at a gathering of businessmen in Taipei yesterday that “the economic difficulties now facing Taiwan are pretty much like four years ago when the world took a severe beating.”

“But there are some positive signs; one of which is the rebound of the export sector in September,” he added.

The president urged foreign companies to increase their investment in Taiwan, saying the country is transforming into an innovation-driven economy.

He said there are four factors that make Taiwan more attractive to foreign investors, namely a high-quality labour force, research and development, innovation, and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China.

Ma said that he hopes to transform Taiwan into a trade hub in the Asia-Pacific region, a global innovation centre and a regional headquarters for foreign companies.

The president was addressing the Taiwan Business Alliance Conference on the topic “Innovative Services, Inventive Taiwan.”

At the conference, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) signed letters of intent with 13 foreign companies that intend to invest in Taiwan.

Foreign investment in Taiwan's service industry amounted to US$3.376 billion in 2011, accounting for 68.14 per cent of the total foreign investment for the year, according to government statistics.

The service industry now accounts for 70 per cent of Taiwan's overall gross domestic product, which shows that Taiwan is gradually moving away from its role as a contract manufacturer and is becoming a service-based economy, the MOEA said.

The ministry said that it will focus on the wholesale and retail industry, logistics, hospitality, and professional technical services in its efforts to restructure the service sector and attract high-quality services from abroad.

With reports from agencies


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