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Sandy may up Taiwan auto part exports

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's exports of automobile parts are likely to rise in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which caused severe damage on the East Coast of the United States, a local economist said yesterday.

Gordon Sun, director of the economic forecasting center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, told CNA that the U.S. might place some “rush orders” with Taiwanese companies as the U.S. has been the main market for Taiwan's exports of vehicle parts.

With the U.S. government expected to hasten recovery efforts during the country's presidential election season, Taiwan may obtain rush orders until the first quarter of 2013, Sun said.

Superstorm Sandy could lead to total economic losses of US$30 billion to US$50 billion in the U.S., taking as much as 0.6 percentage points off the country's economic growth in the October-to-December quarter, according to the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

Taiwan's Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang expressed concern Wednesday that the damage caused by Sandy would affect Taiwan's exports.

He said that although the storm could influence sales in consumer products in eastern parts of the U.S., the country's construction sector may see a boom driven by demand for rebuilding.

Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford also said that Taiwan's exports might be affected by the storm, after the government lowered its 2012 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the ninth time this year.

The government has revised its 2012 GDP projection downward by 0.61 percentage points, from 1.66 percent in August to 1.05 percent, citing weak exports and stagnant consumer buying.

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