Taipei, June 20 (CNA) The value of export orders received in Taiwan fell in May from a year earlier amid weak global demand, according to government figures released Wednesday.
Export orders, which are an indicator of shipments in the next one to three months, totaled US$36.47 billion in May, down 3.04 percent from the same month of last year but up 1.07 percent from April, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
It was the third consecutive month that export orders had posted negative annual growth, Beatrice Tsai, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Statistics, told a press briefing.
She attributed the negative annual growth to a high base period and a weak global market, noting that export orders in May last year totaled US$37.62 billion, the third-highest total in history.
In the first five months of the year, Taiwan received export orders worth US$176.4 billion, down 0.55 percent, or US$970 million, from a year earlier.
Tsai, however, expressed optimism for the figures for June, saying that although positive annual growth is not likely next month, at least the negative annual growth will be narrowed.
Taiwan is expected to receive more export orders in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry in June on the back of the launch of new products after Computex, Asia's largest computer trade fair, and Apple Inc.'s Worldwide Developers Conference, she said.
By market category, although China remained Taiwan's largest source of export orders, orders from there fell 4.32 percent in May from a year earlier to US$9.42 billion, the sixth consecutive month they have posted a decline.
Export orders from the United States, Taiwan's second-largest export market, rose 5.86 percent year-on-year to US$8.75 billion, the only market in which positive annual growth was posted, the figures show.
The countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, meanwhile, posted the first overall decline since the financial crisis of 2008. Export orders from that area dropped 8.61 percent from a year earlier to US$3.88 billion, according to the figures.
"It is hard to predict if the emerging markets have lost their strength, but we will keep a close eye on future developments," said Tsai.
In terms of product breakdown, orders for transport equipment were the main cause of the decline on an annual basis, as their value fell 32.1 percent, or US$470 million, to US$990 million, Tsai said.
Global orders for chemicals and ICT products also slid 12.33 percent and 2.41 percent from a year earlier to US$1.86 billion and US$9 billion, respectively, according to the statistics.
(By James Lee)