Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Growth in Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of last year beat an earlier government forecast on the back of better than expected domestic investment, private consumption and exports, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Tuesday.
In a preliminary reading, the DGBAS said the country's GDP grew 3.38 percent in the October-December period, an increase of 0.34 percentage points from an earlier forecast of 3.04 percent made by the agency in November.
Taiwan's GDP rose 1.84 percent, 2.60 percent and 2.99 percent in the first, second and third quarters of last year, the DGBAS said.
After taking into account the preliminary reading of the fourth quarter, the country's economy grew 2.73 percent in 2019, which also beat the November estimate of 2.64 percent, the agency added.
The DGBAS forecast in November that Taiwan's economy will grow 2.72 percent in 2020, higher than the global average of 2.5 percent forecast by IHS Markit.
The DGBAS said it will release an update of the 2020 GDP forecast on Feb. 12.
At a news conference, DGBAS specialist Huang Wei-chieh (黃偉傑) said that the local manufacturing sector appeared keen to expand production on the back of rising global demand for emerging applications such as 5G related communications devices.
As a result, exports of Taiwan-made information communications devices and video/audio items rose 19.42 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, while outbound sales of electronic components from Taiwan also grew 8.99 percent in the three month period, Huang said.
However, raw material prices continued to fall amid global trade disputes to cap Taiwan's exports in the fourth quarter, the DGBAS said.
In the four quarter, Taiwan's exports of merchandise and services after inflationary adjustments grew 2.33 percent from a year earlier, beating an earlier forecast increase of 0.30 percent, the DGBAS added.
Taiwan's real imports of merchandise and services grew 4.26 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, compared with an earlier forecast fall of 0.48 percent.
Huang said trade friction between the United States and China prompted many Taiwanese firms operating overseas to return and invest, which boosted domestic investment in the country.
In addition, the DGBAS said the local semiconductor industry intensified efforts to develop high-end technology processes by acquiring plenty of production equipment in the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Huang said, investment in capital equipment rose 40 percent from a year earlier, which served as an important driver of total domestic investment.
During the three month period, capita formation after inflationary adjustments rose 10.72 percent from a year earlier, much higher than an earlier forecast of 4.65 percent, the DGBAS added.
Riding the wave of a booming equity market and a market stimulated by retailers' promotional campaigns, private consumption in the fourth quarter rose 2.94 percent from a year earlier, beating an earlier forecast increase of 2.35 percent, the DGBAS said.
Due to a strong showing in the fourth quarter, Taiwan is expected to outperform the neighboring economies of South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong.