Taiwan's industrial production up for 2nd straight month (update)

01/22/2020 09:27 PM

Taipei, Jan. 22 (CNA) Taiwan's industrial production rose in December 2019 for the second consecutive month, on increased investments by Taiwanese manufacturers, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Wednesday.

MOEA data showed that the industrial production index for December rose 5.99 percent from a year earlier to 117.11, after a 1.79 percent year-on-year increase in November.

The sub-index for the manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the total industrial production, grew 6.37 percent from a year earlier 118.79, the data indicated.

Month-on-month, the December industrial production index rose 2.87 percent, with the sub-index for the manufacturing sector climbing 3.04 percent, the data showed.

After seasonal adjustments, the December industrial production index was 1.35 percent higher than the previous month, and the manufacturing sub-index was up 1.70 percent, the data indicated.

In the fourth quarter of last year, industrial production rose 1.64 percent from a year earlier, while the sub-index for the manufacturing sector also grew 1.64 percent, the MOEA said.

For the whole of 2019, however, industrial production dropped by an annual 0.32 percent, with production generated by manufacturers down 0.37 percent in reflection of falling global demand amid trade frictions between the United States and China, the MOEA said.

Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟), deputy head of the MOEA's statistics department, told reporters that production in the manufacturing sector declined in the first half of last year but improved in the second half, as many Taiwanese companies increased their investments at home avoid higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

In addition, the electronics components industry increased its investments in production, particularly in the second half of 2019, Wang said, referring to the semiconductor sector's upgrade of its technology processes.

In December 2019, production by electronics component makers rose 11.17 percent from a year earlier, with the sub-index hitting a new high of 130.80, according to the MOEA data.

The semiconductor sector showed production growth of 12.79 percent as it reached 100 percent production capacity utilization on rising demand for 5G applications and high-performance computing devices, the MOEA said.

Production in the computer and optoelectronics industry grew 24.52 percent in December, marking the 15th consecutive month of double digit year-on-year growth amid rising demand for smartphone camera lenses and expanded production by PC and router makers, the MOEA said.

The old economy industries continued to feel the impact of the global trade disputes, which adversely affected demand and raw material prices, according to the MOEA.

In December, chemical raw material makers, base metal suppliers and machinery producers saw their production fall 1.36 percent, 8.69 percent, and 11.39 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the data showed.

However, the auto and auto parts industry bucked the downturn on year-end buying and promotional campaigns by car vendors, and production soared 15.71 percent from a year earlier.

This year, the local manufacturing sector is expected to see higher demand as clients rebuild their inventories on optimism about easing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, Wang said.

In the first quarter of the year, production generated by manufacturers is forecast to rise about 5 percent from a year earlier, according to Wang.

However, manufacturing production is likely to show a 3-8 percent drop in January from a year earlier due to the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, she said.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang)

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