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Industrial production index drops in April (update)

2012/05/23 20:09:45

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) Taiwan's industrial production index dropped in April, as the global economy has not been stable and sales in emerging markets have not been as good as expected, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Wednesday.

The April industrial production index fell 2.33 percent year-on-year to 129.74, according to statistics released by the ministry.

The index was also down 3.97 percent, or seasonally adjusted 0.73 percent, from March, the statistics showed.

It was the second consecutive month that the index posted negative annual growth, the statistics showed.

But Taiwan's industrial production was not worsening, Huang Ji-shih, director-general of the ministry's statistics department, said at a press briefing, pointing out that April's negative annual growth was smaller than March's.

However, the figure is not likely to bottom out until June, he forecast, citing MOEA surveys among businesses in the manufacturing the sector.

Huang attributed the decline to a high base period in 2011 and the gloomy global economy caused by the European debt crisis. Positive annual growth may be delayed until June, he said.

The April-June industrial production index is not likely to record a positive annual growth rate either, due to a record high base period in 2011 and possible negative annual growth in May, he said.

The manufacturing sub-index, a central component of the industrial production index, fell by 2.58 percent from a year earlier, while the water supply sub-index showed an annual decline of 0.43 percent.

However, the sub-indices for the three other industries -- construction, mining and power supply -- expanded by 8.52 percent, 1.5 percent and 0.97 percent, respectively.

The machinery industry, a sub-index of the manufacturing sector, fell 13.19 percent in April year-on-year, the largest decline among the industries in that sub-index.

Huang attributed the huge decline to a 21.7 percent drop in Taiwan's machinery exports to its main export market China in the first four months of the year.

The January-April industrial production index also fell 4.08 percent from the same period last year to 123.99, the statistics showed.

Among Taiwan's neighboring countries, Singapore was the only one to post a negative annual growth rate of 3.4 percent in April. South Korea, China and Japan showed a positive annual growth of 0.3 percent, 9.3 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively, the statistics showed.

Although China posted a nearly two-digit growth rate from a year earlier, its industrial production fell to a three-year low in April, while Japan recorded a dramatic increase due to a low base period.

South Korea, Taiwan's major trade rival, recorded a 4.7 percent decline in exports in April from a year ago, compared with Taiwan's 6.4 percent drop, Huang said.

(By James Lee)