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December industrial output falls, breaking 9-month rising streak

2019/01/23 21:55:51

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) Taiwan's industrial production fell in December 2018, breaking a nine-month rising streak, due to variables that included a lingering trade war between the United States and China, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) reported Wednesday.

The industrial production index slid 1.22 percent from a year earlier to 110.31 in December, with the sub index for the manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the country's industrial production, dropping 1.45 percent year-on-year to 111.42, MOEA statistics showed.

Except for the computers/optical product sector that recorded a year-on-year rise of 11.93 percent in production in December thanks to orders transferred to Taiwan, all other major sectors fell in output, the data indicated.

Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟), deputy head of the MOEA's statistics department, said the boom in the computers/optical product sector is likely to continue into the first quarter of this year.

Production in the electronics components sector dipped 2.37 percent year-on-year in December, breaking a 13-month growth track, due to weak demand for tech devices and a higher comparison base a year earlier, according to the data. The semiconductor industry also saw a slight decline of 0.01 percent, disrupting a 14-month rising streak, it showed.

Among traditional businesses, the chemical material and base metal sectors dropped 2.1 percent and 1.79 percent in December, respectively, from a year earlier, as a result of slow global demand, the MOEA statistics indicated.

The machinery equipment industry saw an annual contraction of 1.52 percent owing to dwindling demand in China, while auto and parts makers posted a 16.81 percent year-on-year decline in output in December, according to the data.

Taiwan's export-driven economy is expected to register negative growth in the first quarter of 2019 due to several factors, including the protracted U.S.-China trade dispute, Wang said, forecasting that January production in the manufacturing sector would post a drop of between 2.5 percent and 4 percent year-on-year.

In the second half of the year, development in new technologies related to artificial intelligence, 5G, Internet of Things and automobile electronics will continue to advance, which might help boost production and the global economy, Wang said.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Flor Wang)
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