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Taiwan's export sector revitalizing: MOEA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The decline in Taiwan's export orders has not worsened further since hitting bottom in January, indicating that the export sector is gradually revitalizing, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Friday.

The latest MOEA statistics show that export orders amounted to US$23.94 billion in March, representing an increase of 18.99 percent from the previous month and a decrease of 24.29 percent from the same month of last year.

The year-on-year decline marks a slight increase compared with February, when the year-on-year decline was 22.27 percent, but was noticeably narrower compared with January, when a year-on-year plunge of 41.67 percent was recorded, according to the statistics.

Huang Chi-shih, chief of the MOEA's Department of Statistics, said the development might be a sign of the revitalization of the export sector and is thanks mainly to the restoration of demand from China -- one of Taiwan's major export markets.

In March, orders from China accounted for 25.7 percent of the total orders received, putting China back into position as Taiwan's top export market for the first time since October 2008, when the position was replaced by the United States, Huang noted.

According to Lin Chu-chia, an economics professor at National Chengchi University, China's latest economic stimulus measures to encourage home appliance purchases by rural consumers have played an important role in reinvigorating Taiwan's export sector.

Lin said that during a recent visit to China when he met with Taiwanese businessmen based in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, most of them shared the view that the economic situation has been showing slight improvement.

Meanwhile, the MOEA-compiled index for industrial production outlook stood at 51.26 in March, the first time since June 2008 it has exceeded 50, which signals a revival in demand, Huang said.

An index of over 50 is considered an indication that production will increase in the coming month.

According to Huang, many manufacturers of computer and electronic parts and components are expecting their restored production capacity utilization to continue into June and July, thanks to a recent influx of rush orders and short-term orders.

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