Taiwan's exports expected to hit 3rd highest in 2023: Finance Minister
Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) Driven by strong demand for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence development, exports in 2023 are expected to be the third highest in the country's history despite weakness in the global economy, Finance Minister Chuang Tsui-yun (莊翠雲) said on Monday.
Speaking at a hearing held by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Yuan, Chuang said while falling global demand as a whole has pushed Taiwan's export growth into negative territory so far this year, 2023 outbound sales are still expected to top US$400 billion, the third largest after US$479.4 billion in 2022 and US$446.4 billion in 2021.
Chuang remained upbeat about Taiwan's export performance in November and December as international buyers have been building up their inventories to meet a year-end buying spree, in particular in AI-related devices and cloud-based applications.
The minister said she expected export momentum to accelerate for the rest of the year, pushing the figure for 2023 above US$400 billion.
In the first 10 months of this year, Taiwan's exports fell 12.9 percent from a year earlier to US$355.09 billion.
In October alone, the country's outbound sales reversed a brief rebound of 3.4 percent year-on-year growth in September, falling 4.5 percent from a year earlier to US$38.11 billion.
Commenting on the year-on-year fall in exports in October, Chuang said the contraction resulted from a relatively high comparison base over the same period of last year, when exports hit about US$39.9 billion.
In addition, Chuang said the fall in October moderated from previous months. From November 2022 to August 2023, Taiwan's exports fell at a pace ranging between 7.3 percent and 23.4 percent, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Finance.
Chuang said she was cautiously optimistic about Taiwan's export performance in 2024 as the global economy remains haunted by uncertainties including lingering inflationary pressure, an aggressive rate hike by major central banks around the world as well as growing geopolitical tensions.
Reflecting Chuang's optimism over the country's exports down the road, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a statement over the weekend that the local information and communications industry posted a 37.6 percent year-on-year increase in exports in October, boosted by the growing popularity of AI applications and cloud-based services, indicating a fall in inventories in the global market.
The MOEA, which has forecast Taiwan's exports will pass US$400 billion in 2023, said the ministry will continue to provide necessary assistance to exporters, referring to measures including new loans and rollovers of existing loans until the end of 2024.
The ministry said it will also help Taiwanese firms with digital transformation and cutting carbon emissions to strengthen their global competitiveness.
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