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10% Sept. jump ends Taiwan's export slump

Taiwan's exports rose 10 percent from a year earlier in September to US$27.17 billion, ending a streak of six consecutive monthly declines, the Ministry of Finance reported Monday.

The figure represents a 14-month high in monthly growth while annual increase hits 10.4 percent, according to ministry statistics.

Taiwan's imports last month totaled US$23.09 billion, an 8-percent monthly increase, leaving the country with a surplus of US$4.08 billion — a 125.4-percent growth year-on-year.

Exports during the January-September period totaled US$223.56 billion, down 3.9 percent from the same period last year.

Imports during the nine-month period amounted to US$203.99 billion, a 5-percent fall on an annual basis, leaving the country with a surplus of US$19.57 billion for the period, ministry tallies show.

Pre-Christmas buying has turned around the slackening demand for the island's high-tech and other goods.

The Finance Ministry said that Southeast Asia has shown its economic strength by buying US$5.4 billion worth of Taiwanese goods in the month, up 41 percent from a year earlier. Exports to China rose 6 percent.

Imports totaled US$23 billion in the month, up 1.3 percent.

For the first nine months, Taiwanese exports fell 3.9 percent from a year earlier to US$224 billion.

Exports have been hurt partially by HTC Corp.

Taiwan's largest smartphone maker said yesterday that its July-September revenue totaled US$2.4 billion, down 40 percent from the same quarter last year.

Gordon Sun, an economist at the Taipei-based Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, attributed the positive growth in September mainly to a low base of comparison in September 2011, when the global economy began a downturn.

"It is still hard to tell (if the economy will pick up), given that there is only one month of positive data," Sun cautioned.

A clearer picture will be available after the government releases data later in the month on the value of export orders received by Taiwanese companies in September, he said.

The export-order figures indicate potential export shipments over the next one to three months, he said.

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