Taiwan's 25-month streak of export order growth ended by China lockdowns

05/20/2022 11:40 PM
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At Kaohsiung Port. CNA photo May 20, 2022
At Kaohsiung Port. CNA photo May 20, 2022

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Taiwan's 25-month streak of year-on-year export order growth ended in April, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) on Friday, citing COVID-19 lockdowns in China as the main reason.

Data compiled by the MOEA showed Taiwanese exporters received US$51.9 billion in orders in April, down 5.5 percent from a year earlier, after a year-on-year increase of 16.8 percent in March.

Taiwan's export orders totaled US$225.02 billion in the first four months of this year, up 10.4 percent from a year earlier, marking the highest ever level for the four month period, the data indicated.

Citing a survey, Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲), head of the MOEA's Department of Statistics, said 41.3 percent of the 332 Taiwanese investors in China expressed that their operations have been impacted by the lockdowns.

In addition to China's lockdowns, Huang said growing inflation worldwide also hurt global demand in April.

Impact on tech firms

Due to the lockdowns in several Chinese industrial cities such as Shanghai, Kunshan and Suzhou, where many Taiwanese investors operate production lines, export orders for information and communications devices fell 21.5 percent from a year earlier to US$12.14 billion, the MOEA said.

In addition, as demand for consumer electronic gadgets weakened, export orders for smartphones and notebook computers moved lower from a year earlier in April, the MOEA added.

Bucking the downturn, export orders for electronic components rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier to US$17.84 billion on the back of solid demand for semiconductors and IC packaging and testing services, resulting from emerging technologies such as 5G applications and high performance computing devices, the MOEA said.

China's lockdowns pushed down export orders for electronic components by 14.5 percent from a month earlier as a result of interruptions in the supply chain, the ministry said.

Optoelectronics suppliers also felt the pinch from China's restrictions on movement, posting a 27.7 percent year-on-year decline in export order value, which reached US$1.80 billion in April.

A move by clients to adjust inventories due to weaker demand dragged down export orders even further, the MOEA said.

Other sectors hit by lockdowns in China

In addition, China's lockdowns also sent ripples through Taiwan's old economy industries with export orders received by base metal exporters falling 8.8 percent from a year earlier to US$2.94 billion in April as demand from China dropped, the MOEA said.

Export orders in the machinery industry and in the plastics/rubber industry fell 11.6 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to US$2.08 billion and US$2.45 billion in April, while the chemical industry saw export orders increase 14.5 percent from a year earlier to US$2.20 billion as higher crude oil prices pushed up product prices, according to the MOEA.

The United States placed the largest number of export orders with Taiwanese suppliers, valued at US$15.62 billion in April, which accounted for 30.1 percent of the total.

It was followed by China and Hong Kong, which placed US$12.13 billion in orders, making up 23.4 percent of the total.

Export orders from Europe reached US$9.44 billion, representing 18.2 percent of the total, the MOEA said.

(By Tseng Chih-yi and Frances Huang)

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