TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s exports rose by more than 2 percent from a year earlier in August, reversing a 0.5 percent decline seen a month earlier, largely on the back of the peak-season effects in the global electronics industry, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Monday.
Data released by the MOF showed that Taiwan’s outbound sales for August stood at US$29.0 billion, which was the highest August level and was up by 2.6 percent from a year earlier. On a month-on-month basis, exports for August also grew 2.8 percent, the data indicated.
Last month, Taiwan’s imports fell 2.7 percent from a year earlier to US$23.02 billion, with a trade surplus of US$5.98 billion, up US$1.37 billion from a year earlier, the MOF said.
However, in the first eight months of this year, Taiwan’s exports fell 2.3 percent from a year earlier to US$215.41 billion and imports also dropped 1.1 percent to US$185.94 billion, with the trade surplus at US$29.47 billion, down US$3.02 billion from a year earlier, the MOF added.
MOF Statistics Department director Tsai Mei-na (蔡美娜) told the press that international electronics brands have been keen to launch new products during the current peak season and as a result Taiwanese suppliers have benefited from the introduction of the new products and have seen their exports in August rise.
Tsai said since demand for high-end smartphones, 5G technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications appeared solid in August, the local tech sector was simply riding on the waves.
In addition, Taiwan investors operating overseas, in particular in China, are allocating more resources back to Taiwan as a way to shun heavy punitive tariffs imposed by the United States on Chinese-made goods. As a result, Taiwan’s export growth momentum has picked up in August, Tsai said.
Under such favorable circumstances, Tsai said August exports hit and topped a rare level of US$29 billion in a single month.
In August, exports of Taiwan-made electronics components, which accounted for more than 36 percent of the country’s total outbound sales, reached US$10.48 billion, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier, with exports in semiconductor products up 11.7 percent from a year earlier at US$9.37 billion, the data showed.
Exports in information and video/audio products rose 31.4 percent from a year earlier to US$3.8 billion in August due to strong demand for gadgets such as computers, computer periphery and routers, the data indicated.
Bucking the upturn, base metal, plastics/rubber items, chemical products and machinery fell 5.5 percent, 11.0 percent, 12.7 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to US$2.31 billion, US$1.88 billion, US$1.50 billion and US$2.10 billion in August, the MOF said.
In terms of export markets, mainland China and Hong Kong remained Taiwan’s biggest export destinations in August with exports to those locations rising 1.1 percent from a year earlier to US$11.85 billion, ahead of exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (US$4.77 billion, up 0.7 percent), the U.S. (US$4.08 billion, up 22.8 percent), Europe (US$2.60 billion, down 2.22 percent), and Japan (US$1.98 billion, up 7.0 percent).
Mainland China and Hong Kong accounted for 40.9 percent of Taiwan’s total exports in August, while the ASEAN bloc and the U.S. made up 16.4 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively, the MOF said.
Looking ahead, Tsai said, exports for September are expected to fall 1 percent to 2.5 percent from a year earlier due to a relatively high comparison base over the same period of last year.
As for the third quarter, Tsai cited a forecast made by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics as saying exports are expected to fall 0.09 percent from a year earlier before returning to an uptrend pattern expected at a 1.7 percent increase in the fourth quarter.
For the entire year of 2019, Taiwan’s exports are expected to fall 1.2 percent from a year earlier, according to Tsai.
By Wu Chia-jung and Frances Huang