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May export orders rise 4.7% for fourth consecutive quarter

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's orders for exports totaled US$38.02 billion in May, representing a 4.7-percent growth compared to the same month last year, according to a report released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday.

May marked the fourth consecutive month of growth year-by-year. MOEA Statistics Department Director Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) said export performance in May was at a stable level, and forecast exports in the second quarter to outperform those in the first one, as well as that of the same period last year.

Electronics Products and Machinery Fared the Best

Orders for electronics products saw the largest increase in May, growing at 12.6 percent year-by-year. Growing demand for mobile devices resulted in the surge, delivering more orders for manufacturers of wafer foundries, chips DRAM etc.

Machinery products fared well in May, too, growing at 10.1 percent and marking the fourth consecutive month of growth. The surge in orders was due to the global economic recovery, the MOEA noted.

Orders for information and communication technology (ICT) products grew 2.7 percent to reach US$9.48 billion. Increased orders for notebook and computer peripheral products contributed the most to the surge.

Orders for precision instrument products dropped 11.8 percent in May, marking the 13th consecutive month of decline. Decreasing orders for display panels were the main cause. Lower-than-expected orders for TV, slow recovery of the PC market, and fierce international competition resulted in the lower panel demand. Orders from China saw the largest decline among all exported markets, at 11.6 percent.

Orders for base metal products and chemical products grew 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, while orders for plastic products declined 3.4 percent.

Orders Grew Across Markets

All of Taiwan's export markets increased their orders in May. Orders from mainland China (including Hong Kong) grew 4.2 percent year-on-year to reach US$10.16 billion. Its orders for electronics products saw the largest surge, growing at 22.7 percent.

Orders from the U.S. market grew 3.3 percent to reach US$9.3 billion, of which electronics products grew 9.1 percent, the most among all product categories. Orders from the European market grew 4.3 percent in May, marking the 10th consecutive month of growth. Its orders for ICT products grew 8.3 percent, the highest among all.

Orders from the ASEAN-6 nations (Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia) grew 7.5 percent to reach US$4.62 billion, whereas orders for electronics products surged 36.5 percent. Orders from Japan grew 11.6 percent in May, marking the 7th consecutive month of growth. Japan's orders for ICT products and electronics products grew 18.3 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively.

Survey on Local Firms

According to the MOEA's survey of local firms, 20.3 percent believes they will receive more orders in June than in May, 60 percent forecast about the same orders, while 19.7 percent forecast fewer orders.

The directional movement index stands at 50.3. A reading of above 50 in the index indicates an expected increase in order over the previous month. The directional movement index in terms of value stands at 49.1. As such, the amount of orders in June is expected to drop from that in May.

The directional movement index for the ICT sector, the electronics sector and the precision instrument sector stand at 52.6, 51 and 30.2, respectively.

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