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Local industrial production falls in May

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's industrial production index dropped slightly in May from April amid a gloomy global economy, the third consecutive month that the index has posted negative annual growth, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The index fell 0.21 percent from the same month last year to 135.69, according to statistics released by the ministry.

However, the May index was 3.99 percent higher than in April, the statistics showed.

Huang Ji-shih, director-general of the ministry's statistics department, said at a press briefing that Taiwan's industrial production was not worsening, and pointed out that May's negative annual growth was "much smaller" than April's figure.

Huang attributed the decline to a high base period in 2011 and the gloomy global economy caused by the European debt crisis. Despite the negative growth, the May index was the fourth highest in history, he noted.

As many local companies in the information communication technology field are expected to launch new products in the following months, Huang expressed optimism toward the monthly level in June, predicting a positive annual growth rate of 1.19 percent.

Although the April-June industrial production index is not likely to record a positive annual growth rate, the situation "is going to improve steadily quarter by quarter," he said, citing a forecast of positive annual growth rates for this year's third and fourth quarters.

The manufacturing sub-index, a central component of the industrial production index, was the only one that posted negative annual growth, down 0.37 percent from a year earlier, the statistics showed.

The sub-indices for four other industries — construction, mining, water supply and power supply — expanded by 7.28 percent, 5.1 percent, 1.23 percent and 0.63 percent, respectively.

The machinery industry, a sub-index of the manufacturing sector, fell 13.92 percent in May year-on-year, the largest decline among the industries in that sub-index.

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