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IEK forecasts manufacturing output to grow 3.19%

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A research center has raised its 2014 growth forecast for the output value of Taiwan's manufacturing sector, citing a warming global economic climate.

The sector's output value is expected to grow 3.19 percent to NT$17.75 trillion (US$589.12 billion) in 2014, according to the forecast released Wednesday by the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK,工研院產經中心) under the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (工業技術研究院).

In April, the IEK predicted that Taiwan's manufacturing output would grow by an annual 3.1 percent in 2014 to NT$17.73 trillion.

The forecast is consistent with the recent upward adjustments of Taiwan's 2014 gross domestic product (GDP) growth made by many agencies and think tanks.

Academia Sinica (中央研究院), Taiwan's top research institution, raised its forecast for the country's 2014 economic growth in early July to 3.31 percent, while the Taipei-based Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院) raised its forecast from 3.05 percent in April to 3.15 percent on July 15.

The IEK attributed its upward revision to expectations of brisker exports and higher domestic consumption this year due to the strengthening of the global recovery.

Cheng Chih-chiang (陳志強), a manager at the IEK, said at a press conference in Taipei that Taiwan's economy is likely to experience a slow but steady recovery this year.

“The upward trend is in line with the global economy,” Cheng said, expressing “cautious optimism” over the country's economic prospects.

Despite his generally optimistic outlook, however, Cheng cautioned that uncertainties remain, including the high unemployment rate and potential deflation in the euro zone, tensions in Iraq, conflict in Gaza, Japan's weak exports and China's rising financial risks.

Such uncertainties might influence global demand and consequently the economies of exporting countries, including Taiwan, he added.

The output of the local manufacturing sector for the first, second, third and fourth quarters is expected to rise 2.54 percent, 3.31 percent, 3.44 percent and 3.43 percent, respectively, according to the projection.

IC Industry Output to Grow 15%

The output value of Taiwan's integrated circuit (IC) industry is likely to match and even possibly exceed the 15.6 percent annual growth posted in 2013, according to IEK.

The sector's output value should rise 15.2-17.1 percent year-on-year in 2014 from NT$1.89 trillion (US$62.66 billion) in 2013, said the IEK under the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Taiwan's IC industry will outperform the global IC industry, the IEK predicted.

The sustained strong growth in the sector's output is being propelled by the improving global economy and strong demand for “smart” devices, such as tablet computers and smartphones, Peng Mao-jung (彭茂榮), a research manager at the IEK, said at a press conference in Taipei.

Although the pace of growth of tablet computers is expected to ease in 2014, shipments of the popular handheld devices will still see annual growth of 19.7 percent to 263.34 million units this year, Peng said, citing his center's report.

Global shipments of smartphones, another strong driver of the IC industry, are expected to grow 20.5 percent year-on-year from 1.02 billion units in 2013, he said.

With new “smart” products and the Internet of Things (IOT) technology constantly being developed, the IC industry's prospects “are definitely on the bright side,” Peng said.

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