Local manufacturing sector shows signs of slowdown: think tank
CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan's manufacturing sector showed signs of a slowdown in July, largely reflecting a lackluster increase in exports during the month, an economic think tank said Thursday.
August 30, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
In a statement, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) said the composite indicator for the manufacturing sector for July fell 0.33 points from a month earlier to 10.93, flashing a yellow-blue light that represents a slowdown.
The think tank uses a five-level color scale to reflect the condition of the local manufacturing sector: A blue light implies sluggishness, yellow-blue represents a slowdown, green indicates stability, yellow-red means the sector is mildly overheated and red signals overheating.
It was the fourth consecutive month in which the local manufacturing sector flashed a yellow-blue signal, according to the TIER.
In February and March, the composite indicator for the sector flashed a blue light, while a green light was recorded in January.
The TIER said exports for July grew only 1.91 percent year-on-year, lower than an increase of 8.72 percent recorded the previous month, while imports for the month actually fell 7.37 percent from a year earlier, indicating that manufacturing activity remained stagnant.
In the petrochemical/rubber segment, the composite indicator for rubber and plastics product suppliers flashed a blue light in July, compared with a yellow-blue light recorded in June, due to falling demand, the TIER said, adding that export orders in the sector fell 2.7 percent from a year earlier.
The composite indicator for oil and coal producers for July continued to flash a yellow-blue signal as production failed to increase, although political tension in the Middle East boosted product prices and sales, the think tank said.
As for the computer, electronics and optoelectronics segment, the composite indicator recorded a blue light in July for a second consecutive month, pointing to a state of sluggishness, the TIER said.
The TIER said that demand for notebook computers remained weak due to the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, which impacted sales of local personal computer makers in July.
As the pace of high-end smartphone growth in the U.S. and European markets also became slower, sales of Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC Corp. suffered a decline in July sales, further affecting local manufacturing activity.
In July, HTC's consolidated sales fell 29 percent month-on-month to NT$15.7 billion (US$523 million).