GDP growth forecast for 2013 raised to 3.53 percent: DGBAS


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow 3.53 percent this year, up from a previous estimate of 3.15 percent, said the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) yesterday. The previous forecasts about local economic growth were made in November last year.

The agency also said the GDP for 2012 rose 1.25 percent from a year earlier, beating an earlier government estimate of a 1.13-percent increase. In the fourth quarter of last year, Taiwan’s economy grew 3.42 percent from the previous year, higher than an earlier estimated rise of 2.97 percent, on the back of a recovery in exports and private consumption, the agency said. Jasmine Mei, a specialist in the DGBAS’s census department, said private consumption in the fourth quarter rose 1.62 percent from a year earlier, higher than the agency’s previous estimate of an increase of 0.14 percent.

Mei said a rebound on the local bourse, improving economic data, and more stable consumer prices in the quarter facilitated a recovery in consumer confidence that served as a factor to boost private consumption.

In the October-December period, global demand made a comeback, which boosted Taiwan’s merchandise exports during the period by 2.47 percent from a year earlier, stopping a three-quarter losing streak, according to the DGBAS statistics.

By taking service exports and inflation adjustments into account, Taiwan’s real exports rose 3.98 percent in the same three-month period, 1.48 percentage points higher than an earlier DGBAS estimate of a 2.5-percent increase.

Gau Jr-shiang, a DGBAS section chief, said the upgrade of the 2013 GDP growth forecast reflected a further improvement in exports on the back of the global economic recovery.

Gau cited forecasts released by Global Insight as saying that the 2013 economic growth of China, which consumes about 40 percent of Taiwan’s exports, has been upgraded by 0.2 percentage points to 8 percent, a favorable development that is expected to boost the island’s outbound sales.

He said Taiwan’s integrated circuit products command a high competitive edge, in particular after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chip maker, expanded its production capacity.

He added that demand for large-sized flat panels is on the rise and that smartphone shipments have shown signs of a recovery, which could lead to further growth in Taiwan’s exports this year.

The DGBAS said Taiwan’s private consumption for 2013 is expected to grow 1.56 percent, merchandise exports to rise 6.07 percent, merchandise imports to climb 6.95 percent, and capital formation to grow 5.44 percent.

The agency said per capita GDP for 2013 is expected to reach US$21,207, while per capita gross national product is expected to hit US$21,784.