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Industrial index expected to show growth

TAIPEI--Taiwan's industrial production index is likely to show year-on-year growth for November, in a three-month gaining streak driven by solid global demand for handheld electronic devices, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.

In October, the local industrial production index grew 0.78 percent from a year earlier, while in September the year-on-year increase was 0.60 percent.

The production index for October rose 0.49 percent year-year-on year in the manufacturing sector, and 15.42 percent in the construction industry.

The MOEA is scheduled to release the November data on Dec. 23.

With the economic fundamentals in the European Union and the United States recovering at a mild pace, consumption power is rising during the Christmas shopping season, the ministry said.

In particular, buying interest in the global market has been sparked by the launch of new handheld electronic devices, paving the way for increased shipments by Taiwanese manufacturers, according to the ministry.

Demand has been growing in China for select high-tech gadgets from Taiwan, as Chinese vendors are building up their inventories to prepare for increased consumer buying during the Lunar New holiday, which starts in late January, the MOEA said.

Meanwhile, the MOEA said that several major local petrochemical manufacturers have resumed operations at their plants after their annual maintenance, which means production in that sector can be expected to pick up.

The local steel sector, however, is undergoing annual maintenance, which has resulted in a production drop, the ministry said.

With China gearing up to increase its supply of components for a wide range of finished products, the production index for Taiwan's manufacturing sector may show only slight or even flat annual growth for November, the MOEA forecast.

The ministry's forecast for November's industrial production growth was more upbeat than that of Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute, one of Taiwan's leading economic think tanks, which recently projected zero increase, citing the continued slow economic growth.

The think tank also cited the fact that the October industrial production index grew only 0.78 percent, falling short of the market estimate of about 1 percent.

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