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November exports fall, ending 24-month rising streak

2018/12/07 21:52:18

Taipei, Dec. 7 (CNA) Exports in November fell 3.4 percent year-on- year to US$27.81 billion, ending a 24-month rising streak, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) reported Friday.

Imports totaled US$23.16 billion last month, a 1.1 percent rise year-on-year, leaving the country with a trade surplus of US$4.65 billion, a contraction of US$1.23 billion from the same month of the previous year, according to the MOF.

During the January-November period, the country's outbound shipments achieved a record high of US$307.46 billion, up 6.9 percent year-on-year.

The trade surplus in the 11-month period totaled US$44.7 billion, down US$7.15 billion compared with a year ago.

Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜), chief of the MOF's Department of Statistics, attributed the US$990 million drop in November exports to a high comparison base against last year, sluggish iPhone sales, slowing demand for machinery equipment and the impact of the trade war between the United States and China.

In November, all major categories of goods experienced a fall in exports, except for telecommunications/audio-visual and mineral products, which posted annual growth of 5.9 percent and 42.1 percent, respectively.

Outbound shipments of electronic components -- the backbone of Taiwan's exports -- reached US$9.62 billion, a 5.7 percent decrease year-on-year, while machinery equipment exports slid 13.4 percent from a year ago to US$2.06 billion, MOF statistics show.

Exports in other sectors, including basic metal, rubber, optical, chemical and electrical engineering products also fell, posting decreases ranging from 17.5 percent to 1.1 percent, MOF tallies indicate.

Exports to the U.S. in November grew 3.7 percent annually to US$3.483 billion, the 26th consecutive monthly increase, and those to Japan in the first 11 months surpassed the 2017 level to a fresh high of US$21.18 billion, up 11.6 percent year-on-year, according to the statistics.

However, exports to the ASEAN member states last month declined 4.5 percent year-on-year to US$4.91 billion, due mainly to a falling demand for mineral products and electronic components from those countries.

Tsai predicted that Taiwan's outbound shipments will continue to contract by at least 3 percent year-on-year in December due to the growing implications from the lingering U.S.-China trade war.

(By Chiu Po-sheng and Flor Wang)