TAIPEI–Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) said Tuesday that it still holds a bullish view on Taiwan’s exports despite weak export data for September released on Monday. “We are still cautiously optimistic on Taiwan’s external outlook,” the bank said in a note, adding that the public should not “over-panic on the poor headline growth.”
Taiwan’s exports in September were well below expectations, falling 7 percent from a year earlier to US$25.2 billion, according to official statistics. Raymond Yeung, a senior economist at ANZ, said that while exports contracted on a percentage basis last month, their level remained in line with the June-August average of US$25.8 billion. Imports, meanwhile, contracted less than expected and reported month-on-month growth of 8.8 percent, indicating better export growth in the pipeline as much of Taiwan’s imports are intermediary goods used to produce products for export, he said. In addition, this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival fell on Sept. 19, resulting in more days off for the holiday during the month than last year, when the festival fell on Sept. 30. That longer break adversely affected the whole Greater China supply chain, the economist said. In terms of products, exports of “mineral products” (mostly gasoline and diesel fuel) were the main culprits dragging down export growth, Yeung said. The technology sector was resilient, with electronics and information and communications technology exports slightly higher for the month than the year-earlier figure. The September contraction, therefore, cannot be seen as fully representative when gauging overall external demand for Taiwan’s products, Yeung said.