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Q1 manufacturing output value down 4.95% year-on-year: MOEA

2019/05/17 17:03:01

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) The production value of Taiwan's manufacturing sector hit NT$3.1578 trillion (US$100.88 billion) in the first quarter of 2019, a year-on-year fall of 4.95 percent, ending nine consecutive quarters of increases since the fourth quarter of 2016, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) reported Friday.

Other than the computer/opto-electronics sector, which grew nearly 20 percent year-on-year, other sectors such as basic metals, machinery and chemicals, all posted falls ranging from 2.6 percent to 10.9 percent, according to statistics compiled by MOEA's Department of Statistic.

Thanks to an expanded production of servers at home as well as a strong global demand for camera lens on mobile devices and networking equipment, the Q1 output value of the computer/opto-electronics sector expanded 18.2 percent on an annual basis to NT$164.6 billion, the largest growth since Q4 of 2011, the department said.

In the high-tech sector, the Q1 production value of electronic components slid 9.08 percent annually to NT$819.1 billion, with the IC segment shrinking 10.8 percent, and LCD panel industry decreasing 10.7 percent, as a result of the falling sales of smartphones and weakening demand for virtual currencies across the world, it said.

In conventional businesses, the chemicals sector posted the largest year-on-year fall of 10.9 percent in the first three months of this year, while the machinery sector lost 6.86 percent and the basic metals industry 2.63 percent, amid an escalating trade war between the United States and China and increased protectionism over steel products.

The automobile and components industry decreased 9.2 percent in output value in Q1, due to sluggish exports and the increased popularity of imported cars at home, according to the department.

Looking to the second quarter, the output value of the overall manufacturing sector is expected to expand, but negative annual growth is likely because of a higher comparison base in the same period last year, the department said.

Although the global sale of smartphones and LCD panels will remain lackluster in Q2, the internet of things and automobile electronics industries will continue to gain growth momentum which should offset some losses in sales for the electronics components sector, it said.

Meanwhile, the prospects of the computer/opto-electronics sector remain good, thanks to expanded production in Taiwan, while the outlook for traditional businesses is gloomy owing to increased tariffs incurred as part of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, the department explained.

(By Tsai Peng-min and Flor Wang)