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Trade outlook good amid warming global economy

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's trade outlook remains positive as the economy of China, the country's top trade partner, will likely bottom out and global recovery is on track, foreign banks said Tuesday.

March trade data showed "continuing recovery to demand in key overseas markets," said Tony Phoo, a Taipei-based economist at Standard Chartered Bank, in a research note.

"The current growth recovery in Taiwan is gaining strength amidst signs of pick up in industrial confidence and manufacturing activity."

Taiwan's exports rose 2 percent year-on-year in March to US$27.76 billion, the second highest monthly level in the country's history. The annual growth beat a market consensus of 0.6 percent year-on-year growth.

Exports of electronics parts and components, which rose 9 percent year-on-year to a record high of US$8.15 billion in March, suggested improving global demand, Phoo said.

Although Taiwan's trade surplus for the month was a lower-than-expected US$1.95 billion, it was US$6.5 billion for the first quarter, which was 41 percent higher than the same period a year ago, the economist said.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. also held a similar view, but cautioned that failure to approve a trade-in-services agreement with China on time has become a downside risk.

The dispute over the pact could spill over and dampen economic integration in the Greater China region, the bank said earlier this month.

The agreement, signed in June 2013, has been stalled in the Legislature and sparked a student-led protest that led to the occupation of the main chamber of the Legislative Yuan on March 18, effectively paralyzing the lawmaking body.

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