Taipei, May 21 (CNA) The value of export orders received in Taiwan fell in April from a year earlier, mainly because of a high base period and a transition period for information and communications products, according to government figures released Monday.
Export orders, an indication of shipments in the next one to three months, totaled US$36.09 billion in April, down 3.52 percent from the same month of last year and down 5.95 percent from March, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Beatrice Tsai, deputy director general of the ministry's Department of Statistics, attributed the negative annual growth to a high base period, noting that export orders in April 2011 were the fifth highest of any month in history.
She predicted that export orders would likely post negative growth in May for the same reason. Export orders in May 2011 totaled US$37.62 billion, the third highest total in history.
In the first four months of the year, Taiwan received export orders worth US$139.9 billion, up 0.13 percent from a year earlier.
Though China remained Taiwan's largest source of export orders, its orders fell 7.8 percent in April from a year earlier to US$9.26 billion, the fifth consecutive month they have posted a decline.
Export orders from the United States, Taiwan's second largest export market, rose 0.79 percent annually to US$8.37 billion, the figures showed.
The main bright spot was the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose orders grew 7.53 percent to US$4.04 billion in April, with orders from Singapore growing at annual rate of 18 percent and accounting for half of the orders from the region.
By product category, orders for information and communications products were the main cause of the decline on an annual basis, as their value fell 4.63 percent to US$8.64 billion amid a transition period, Tsai said.
Global orders for chemicals and electronics products also slid 13.02 percent and 2.85 percent from a year earlier to US$1.98 billion and US$8.46 billion, respectively, according to the statistics.
Despite the negative growth in April, the statistics showed that "export orders from Taiwan are expected to rise steadily and gradually," Tsai said.
(By James Lee)