Export orders hit a new record high

22-Jan-2022 Intellasia | TaipeiTimes | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Defying expectations, export orders grew at a monthly pace of 3.7 percent to another record high of $67.9 billion last month, bolstered by improved supply of key components and persistently robust demand for smartphones, notebook computers and networking devices, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The ministry had forecast that export orders would drop at least 5.3 percent to $62 billion because of seasonal factors.

“December export orders were clearly better” than forecast, Department of Statistics director Huang Yu-ling said by telephone.

Huang attributed last month’s growth to robust demand for new emerging technologies, such as 5G, high-performance computing (HPC) applications and automotive devices, which led to higher demand for chips, chip packaging and testing services, and printed circuit boards.

“Shortages of raw materials and key components were alleviated at a faster-than-expected pace. That also helped lift export orders,” Huang said.

The growth in export orders spread to traditional industries, such as basic metals, she said.

On an annual basis, last month’s orders rose 12.1 percent, ministry data showed.

For the full year, export orders totalled $674.13 billion, surging 26.3 percent from 2020, following a 13.3 percent increase in fourth-quarter orders to $192.5 billion, the data showed.

For this month, the ministry expects seasonal weakness to weigh on orders, which could fall between 11.6 percent and 13.8 percent from last month to between $58.5 billion and $60 billion.

However, on an annual basis, export orders are still projected to grow between 11 percent and 13.8 percent, the ministry said.

“The first quarter is usually the slowest season of the year for electronics manufacturers,” Huang said. “But, for the full year, healthy world economic growth remains a favourable factor that would drive local companies’ business.”

Global GDP is forecast to expand at an annual rate of 4.2 percent this year, Huang said, citing a projection from market researcher IHS Markit.

Last month, orders for information and communications technology (ICT) products climbed 2.2 percent from a month earlier and 12.7 percent annually to an all-time high of $21.64 billion.

Orders for electronics products rose 6.8 percent monthly and 12.2 percent annually to a new high of $21.65 billion, driven mainly by increased demand for 5G devices, HPC devices and automotive electronics among other emerging technologies, the ministry said.

Electronics and ICT products, two major pillars of the nation’s export orders, both countered the seasonal downtrend, which usually begins at the end of a year.

Optoelectronics products, primarily flat panels, saw orders gain 2.3 percent monthly and 7.4 percent annually to $2.73 billion, thanks to strong demand for LCD panels used in commercial, industrial and medical devices.

However, a persistent decline in large TV panel prices offset some of the growth.

Orders for basic metals, mainly for steel, increased 2.6 percent monthly and 24.9 percent annually to $3.3 billion, supported by increases in infrastructure projects and higher steel prices.

Order for plastics products rose 2.6 percent from a month earlier and 12.9 percent from a year earlier to $2.62 billion, thanks to strong demand and higher crude oil prices.

Petrochemical products grew 2.8 percent monthly and 19.1 percent annually to $2.22 billion, as electronics consumed more petrochemical materials and global crude oil prices rose.

Machine tool orders rose 3.4 percent from a month earlier, but slid 1.4 percent from a year earlier to $2.26 billion as demand from semiconductor and automation equipment rose.

However, Chinese companies have become more conservative about investing in equipment as its economic growth slows.



Category: Taiwan

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