Taiwan expected to report further export fall for August

In July, Taiwan's export orders fell 3.0 percent from a year earlier to US$40.53 billion, but the decline moderated from a year-on-year fall of 4.5 percent seen in June, according to MOEA data. (NOWnews)
In July, Taiwan's export orders fell 3.0 percent from a year earlier to US$40.53 billion, but the decline moderated from a year-on-year fall of 4.5 percent seen in June, according to MOEA data. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan is expected to report another year-on-year fall in export orders for August at a time when the escalating trade disputes between the United States and China has sent ripples through the global market, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Friday.

Citing the results of a survey, the MOEA statistics department said export orders for August are estimated to range between US$41.5 billion and US$42.5 billion, down 2.7 percent-5 percent from a year earlier, marking the 10th consecutive month of a year-on-year decline.

In addition to the impact of the global trade war, the MOEA said a relatively high comparison base over the same period of last year would also contribute to the fall in August.

The MOEA is scheduled to release the August export orders data Sept. 20.

In July, Taiwan’s export orders fell 3.0 percent from a year earlier to US$40.53 billion, but the decline moderated from a year-on-year fall of 4.5 percent seen in June, according to MOEA data.

All of the major industrial sectors in Taiwan suffered a year-on-year fall in export orders in July, with export orders received by Taiwanese electronic component makers down 1.3 percent from a year earlier at US$10.56 billion and export orders received by the information/communications industry down 3.2 percent from a year earlier at US$11.11 billion.

With global demand affected by the Washington-Beijing trade dispute, Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the Economic Forecasting Center of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), said that buying in the traditional industrial sector, has been hurt.

Sun said the trade war has slowed down China’s economic growth pace, so demand for a wide range of old economy merchandise such as machinery, petrochemical and steel products from Taiwan has weakened.

In the second quarter, China’s domestic gross product (GDP) grew 6.2 percent from a year earlier, moderating an increase of 6.4 percent seen in the first quarter. The second-quarter growth was the lowest level in 27 years for China.

Sun said Taiwan’s export-oriented economy for the second quarter of this year will be driven by global demand for information and communication devices. “In particular, it will largely depend on the sales of the newest iPhones at a time of the trade friction between the U.S. and China,” the economist said.

On Sept. 10, Apple Inc. unveiled three next-generation iPhones: two high-end models — the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max — along with the cheaper iPhone 11 — to replace the previous models of the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, respectively.

Global sales are scheduled to begin Sept. 20, with Taiwan as one of the markets in the first round of the sales worldwide.

Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲), head of the MOEA’s statistics department, said that judging from shipments in the past after the debut of new iPhones, export orders for Taiwan grew at a significant pace in September and growth momentum is expected to continue into November to hit a peak for the year.

Therefore, export orders for August are unlikely to benefit from the effects of the launch of the new iPhones, Huang said.

Sun said he remained cautious about whether the new iPhones will be well-received in the global market, and said that sales are expected to stay little changed from the previous models launched last year.

Meanwhile, Kamhon Kan (簡錦漢), head of the Institute of Economics at Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s highest academic research institute, said he is upbeat about Taiwan’s export orders in the second half of the year, since in addition to Apple, other brands such as China’s Huawei Technologies Co., will introduce new smartphones to boost shipments of Taiwanese suppliers.

By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang