Exports jump 27 percent to nearly US$40bn: ministry

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Exports last month surged 26.9 percent to a record US$39.55 billion, propelled by robust across-the-board demand, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

Demand for tech and non-tech products gained steam as the world emerges from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that is benefiting Taiwanese exporters, Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) said.

“The fourth quarter might see monthly export value surpass the US$40 billion mark for the first time, as demand shows no signs of subsiding,” Tsai told a news conference in Taipei.

Exports this month are projected to grow by 23 to 27 percent, despite fewer working days due to the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Sept. 21 this year, she said.

Shipments of electronic components spiked 21.9 percent year-on-year to a new high of US$15.22 billion last month, thanks to inventory restocking ahead of new product launches by global technology brands, the ministry said.

Exports of information and communication technology products increased 17.5 percent to US$5.3 billion last month, while optical devices picked up 11 percent to US$1.23 billion, it said.

Non-tech products registered faster gains, thanks partly to low comparison bases in the same month last year, it said.

Shipments of mineral products more than doubled from a year earlier, while chemical products soared 61.3 percent, base metal and related products swelled 50 percent, and plastic products surged 42.7 percent, the ministry said.

International raw material price hikes bode well for those non-tech products, aided by major economies pouring funds into infrastructure enhancement projects as the pandemic is brought under relative control, it said.

Imports last month accelerated 46.3 percent to a record US$36.08 billion, giving Taiwan a trade surplus of US$3.48 billion, down 46.5 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Imports of capital equipment soared 63.5 percent as Taiwanese firms aggressively expanded their capacity to meet demand ahead, it said.

Semiconductor equipment, in particular, soared 80.4 percent year-on-year to US$3.44 billion, the ministry said.

Imports of agricultural and industrial raw materials spiked 51.3 percent to U$25.12 billion, while imports of luxury items gained 3.1 percent to US$3.61 billion, it said.

For the first eight months of this year, exports grew 30.9 percent year-on-year to US$284.42 billion, while imports picked up 32.5 percent to US243.21 billion, the ministry said.

It might become a new normal for Taiwan’s monthly export value to be consistently above the US$30 billion mark, Tsai said.