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Export orders return to growth, up 1.2% in March

04/22/2024 08:49 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Taiwan's export orders moved higher by 1.2 percent from a year earlier in March as the high-tech sector rode the wave of popularity for emerging technologies, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Monday.

Data compiled by the MOEA showed the country's export orders stood at US$47.16 billion, up US$580 million or 1.2 percent from a year earlier after a 10.4 percent year-on-year decline in February.

The March figure came within an earlier forecast by the MOEA, ranging from US$47.0 billion to US$49.0 billion, up 0.9-5.2 percent from a year earlier.

In the first quarter, Taiwan's export orders fell 2.1 percent from a year earlier to US$133.32 billion, the MOEA data indicated.

Speaking with reporters, MOEA Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲) said the electronics sector served as a driver for Taiwan's export order growth in March in the wake of a boom in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence applications, high performance computing (HPC) devices and cloud-based gadgets.

In March, export orders received by the electronics industry rose 12.0 percent from a year earlier to US$16.50 billion as solid demand for emerging technologies pushed up orders taken by pure play wafer foundry operators, IC designers and printed circuit board suppliers, the MOEA said.

In the information and communications industry, the MOEA said, export orders rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier to US$13.29 billion in March as AI and cloud-based applications propped up demand for servers, while orders for notebook computers fell, capping growth in the entire industry.

The MOEA said export orders taken by the optoelectronics industry also rose 11.8 percent from a year earlier to US$1.71 billion in March due to an increase in camera lenses as well as a rise in demand for large-sized TV panels and growing TV screen prices.

However, old economy industries still felt the pinch resulting from weaker demand from end users, Huang said.

Export orders received by the base metal industry fell 10.4 percent from a year earlier to US$2.23 billion in March largely due to weak demand for steel products, according to the MOEA.

In the machinery industry, export orders fell 13.9 percent from a year earlier to US$1.66 billion in March as many manufacturers remained cautious about the market outlook, and appeared reluctant to increase investment in equipment, the MOEA said.

The MOEA said the plastics and rubber industry suffered a supply glut and saw export orders fall 9.3 percent from a year earlier to US$1.65 billion, while the chemical industry also posted a 2.2 percent year-on-year decline in export orders totaling US$1.60 billion in March in the wake of a fall in product prices.

The United States placed US$14.43 billion in export orders for Taiwan's goods in March, down 2.2 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 30.6 percent of the total, the largest share among foreign buyers, the MOEA said.

China and Hong Kong came in second, placing US$11.11 billion in export orders with Taiwan, up 7.7 percent from a year earlier, ahead of Europe, which placed US$7.47 billion in export orders, down 6.2 percent from a year earlier, the MOEA added.

Looking ahead, Taiwan's tech sector is expected to continue to benefit from rising demand for emerging technologies, with the country's export orders expected to range between US$43.0 billion and US$45.0 billion in April, up 1.2-5.9 percent from a year earlier, Huang said.

However, the global economy remains haunted by high interest rates, geopolitical unease and lingering trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which could weaken demand, she added.

(By Liu Chien-ling and Frances Huang)

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