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Exports down 0.3% in January

2019/02/15 19:53:11

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) Taiwan continued to feel the pinch of a global economic slowdown in January as exports fell on a year-on-year basis for a third consecutive month.

Taiwan's exports fell 0.3 percent in January from a year earlier to US$27.30 billion after a 3.0 percent year-on-year decline in December and a 3.5 percent drop in November, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

Imports in January, however, rose 6.8 percent from a year earlier to US$26.39 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$910 million, down US$1.78 billion from a year earlier, the figures showed.

The MOF said ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, which continued to disrupt global demand, and a slowing global economy reflected by weak manufacturing activity data in major economies such as the U.S., China and Europe, hurt Taiwan's exports.

On a month-on-month basis, Taiwan's exports fell 4.6 percent but imports rose 10.4 percent, resulting in a US$3.80 billion fall in the trade surplus, the MOF's data showed.

Hurt by falling raw material prices, the value of exports by Taiwanese plastics and rubber companies fell 13.1 percent year-on-year to US$1.89 billion in January, and outbound sales of the chemical industry dropped 12.3 percent to US$1.68 billion, the MOF said.

Base metal exports also fell 7.3 percent from a year earlier to US$2.53 billion in January because of falling steel prices, according to the MOF.

The local electronics component industry bucked the downturn, however, reporting a 0.8 percent increase in exports in January from a year earlier to US$8.76 billion, as semiconductor exports rose 2.9 percent to US$7.63 billion, the MOF said.

Exports of information/communications devices and audio/video items also pushed higher, rising 21.4 percent from a year earlier to US$3.29 billion in January, MOF figures showed.

China and Hong Kong remained Taiwan's biggest market in January but exports there fell 7.5 percent from a year earlier to US$10.32 billion.

Exports to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also fell 15.3 percent to US$4.29 billion, but outbound sales to the U.S. rose 21.2 percent to US$3.80 billion.

Taiwan's exports to both Europe and Japan in January also topped shipments made a year earlier, with exports to Europe up 11.4 percent to US$2.77 billion and exports to Japan up 13.6 percent to US$2.16 billion, the MOF said.

(By Chiu Po-sheng and Frances Huang)