Taiwan exports rise for 25th straight month in July


Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Taiwan's exports rose from a year earlier for the 25th consecutive month in July, largely on the back of solid global demand for tech gadgets, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Monday.

Data compiled by the MOF showed the country's exports rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier to US$43.32 billion, the second highest month ever after US$43.50 billion in March.

Taiwan's imports rose 19.4 percent from a year earlier to hit US$38.29 billion in July, the third highest ever, trailing US$38.59 billion in March and US$39.66 billion in May, the MOF's data indicated.

In July, Taiwan had a trade surplus of US$5.03 billion, down US$850 million, or 14.5 percent, from a year earlier.

In the first seven months of this year, Taiwan's exports rose 18.4 percent from a year earlier to US$289.97 billion, and imports grew 23.9 percent from a year earlier to US$257.25 billion with a trade surplus of US$32.72 billion, down 12.1 percent from a year earlier.

Tech-driven boom


Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), director-general of the MOF's Department of Statistics, told reporters that Taiwan's electronics sector continued to benefit from the boom in demand for emerging technologies, such as high performance computing devices and automotive electronics.

In July, electronic component firms generated US$16.96 billion in exports in July, accounting for 39.2 percent of the country's total outbound sales, and up 15.6 percent from a year earlier, with semiconductor exports rising 17.4 percent from a year earlier to US$15.52 billion, based on strong global demand for chips made on high-end processes, the MOF said.

Exports of Taiwan-made information and communications and video/audio gadgets totaled US$5.89 billion in July, making up 13.6 percent of the country's total exports and rising 13.3 percent from a year earlier, the MOF said.

Demand for mineral based items made in Taiwan which were largely fuel products, including gasoline and diesel, was strong in July, when exports from the local mineral industry soared 123.4 percent from a year earlier to US$2.48 billion. In addition, mineral goods showed signs of improving in terms of product prices and sales volume last month, according to the ministry, the ministry added

In addition, outbound sales of base metals and machinery also rose 4.7 percent and 16.9 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to US$3.38 billion and US$2.73 billion in July.

Bucking the upturn, exports in plastic and rubber items fell 7.1 percent from a year earlier to US$2.30 billion in July, the MOF said.

Top export destinations


In terms of individual markets, China/Hong Kong remained the largest buyer of Taiwan's goods after purchasing US$16.04 billion goods from Taiwan, up 3.0 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 37.0 percent of all exports, the MOF added.

ASEAN countries came in second after buying US$7.48 billion in goods from Taiwan in July, up 21.0 percent from a year earlier, ahead of the U.S., which bought US$6.96 billion in goods from Taiwan, up 24.8 percent from a year earlier, and Europe, which purchased US$3.76 billion in Taiwan-made merchandise, up 3.5 percent from a year earlier, the MOF said.

Looking ahead, Tsai said Taiwan expects to continue to ride the wave of peak season effects in the second half of the year, forecasting the country's exports will grow 8-12 percent from a year earlier to between US$42.7 billion and US$44.2 billion in August, marking the 26th consecutive month of year-on-year growth.

However, this forecast was made without taking into consideration the possible impact of non-economic factors such as China's military threats as their impact is difficult to estimate at the moment, according to the MOF.

By Chang Ai and Frances Huang