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February export orders fall ending 18 straight months of growth

2018/03/20 18:44:53

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Taiwan reported a year-on-year decline in export orders in February, ending 18 consecutive months of growth in the wake of seasonal factors, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Tuesday.

In February, with the number of working days reduced due to the six-day Lunar New Year holiday, Taiwan's export orders totaled US$32.45 billion, down 3.8 percent from a year earlier, after a 19.7 percent year-on-year increase in January, the 18th consecutive month of growth, the MOEA said.

A slow season in the global information/communications sector also impacted the performance of Taiwan's export orders in February, the MOEA added.

On a month-to-month basis, Taiwan's export orders fell 24.6 percent and after seasonal adjustment the figure was down 1.4 percent, data compiled by the MOEA showed.

Orders received by Taiwanese information/communications device firms fell 8.6 percent from a year earlier to US$8.88 billion, while orders placed with local electronic parts and optoelectronics makers also fell 8.6 percent and 17.9 percent, respectively, to US$7.98 billion and US$1.72 billon, the data indicated.

The MOEA said the electronic components sector was affected by slower demand for chips, printed circuit boards and other electronic parts in the global market, while the optoelectronics sector felt the pinch as a result of a fall in flat panel prices.

The plastics/rubber sector also saw export orders fall 1.0 percent from a year earlier to US$1.65 billion in February, the MOEA said.

Export orders in the base metal, machinery and chemical sectors bucked the downturn, rising 11.1 percent, 4.0 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively, to US$2.16 billion, US$1.71 billion and US$1.79 billion in February, the ministry added.

The MOEA said orders placed by major buyers with Taiwanese exporters generally fell in February with exporters from China/Hong Kong and the United States down 1.8 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively, to US$8.56 billion and US$8.34 billion in February. Orders placed by Europe and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with Taiwanese firms also fell 1.1 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, to US$6.59 billion and US$3.37 billion, the MOEA said.

However, orders placed by Japanese companies rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier to US$1.89 billion, according to the ministry.

In the first two months of this year, Taiwan's export orders rose 8.3 percent from a year earlier to US$75.52 billion, the MOEA said.

The ministry said export orders for March are likely to fall again due to a relatively high comparison base over the same period of last year but momentum is expected to pick up in April.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang)