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Exports in second quarter highest in 3 years

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Exports totaled US$26.8 billion in June, up 1.2 percent year-on-year, and exports in the second quarter exceeded US$80 billion, which was a new record in three years, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said yesterday.

The electronics industry, which comprises roughly 30 percent of Taiwan's exports, saw the best performance in June. The amount totaled US$8.32 billion, growing 9.9 percent year-on-year. Exports in the sector have reached over US$8.1 billion for four consecutive months, according to the MOF.

In the electronics industry, while the integrated circuits (IC) sector grew 9.3 percent, the foundry sector also received plenty of orders, resulting in an ordering queue until the end of the year, according to an industry source.

Exports in the base metal industry totaled US$2.53 billion, representing 12.2 percent growth. The steel metal industry's output grew the most at 17.1 percent. The machinery industry, on the other hand, grew 12.7 percent, and the output totaled US$1.92 billion in the month, which was a new single-month record, according to the MOF.

Underperforming Industries

Three other major industries — mineral, optical instruments and information and communication technology (ICT) - all saw a decline in outputs, by 30 percent, 12.3 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively.

In the mineral industry, exports of diesel, gasoline and airline fuel dropped by more than 30 percent. This was a result of oil refineries closing down between May and June for annual maintenance work, said Yeh Maan-tzwu (葉滿足), the director of MOF's Statistics Department. Since major refinery Formosa Petrochemical Corp. (台塑石化) is expected to resume operation in July, Yeh forecast better performance in the industry next month.

Exports of optical instruments declined 12.3 percent. Weak sales of LCD products, which dropped a whopping 40 percent, were the main contributor to the unsatisfactory performance, according to the MOF. However, the industry may see better performance next month, as major original design manufacturer Wistron Corp. (緯創) pointed out recently that “the worst is in the past,” according to Statistics Chief Yeh.

Taiwan's Major Export Market

Except for ASEAN-6 countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam), Taiwan's exports to all other markets grew in June. A freeze in mineral product output contributed to the decline in exports to ASEAN-6 countries, according to Yeh.

Exports to mainland China and Hong Kong, which accounted for roughly 40 percent of Taiwan's exports, totaled US$10.63 billion and grew 3.4 percent year-on-year.

Imports Performance.

Imports totaled US$24.91 billion in June, up 7.5 percent year-on-year. Imports of major product categories grew across the board. Among the highlights, imports of precision instruments grew 36.7 percent, agricultural and industrial raw materials grew 6.9 percent and consumer products grew 15.9 percent. Imports of food products and small cars both grew over 20 percent.

Imports totaled US$137.21 billion during the first six months of 2014, representing a 1.1-percent growth compared to a year ago.

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