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Think tank cautious over Taiwan's export growth through Dec.

TAIPEI--Leading economic think tank Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute said Saturday that it was cautious over Taiwan's export growth through the month of December as the pace of a global economic recovery appeared fragile.

Taiwan's outbound sales for November remained unchanged from a year earlier, ending a two-month decline, but the zero growth missed market expectations of a 2 percent year-on-year increase that month, indicating that exports are still moving slowly, Yuanta-Polaris said.

Given the information, it is very possible that Taiwan's exports will resume falling in December, the think tank warned.

November exports stood at US$24.89 billion, unchanged from a year earlier but down 4.7 percent from October of this year. Exports in October and September fell 1.5 percent and 7.0 percent year-on-year, respectively.

While Taiwan's exports to China and Hong Kong in November rose 6.5 percent annually, sales to the United States, Europe and Japan fell 0.7 percent, 1.6 percent, and 7.6 percent, respectively.

Exports to six major markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam — plunged by a massive 9.3 percent year-on-year for the month. Just one month earlier in October, sales to those six countries rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier.

Yuanta-Polaris said the steep decline in exports to the ASEAN countries largely reflected falling sales in mineral products and electronics goods.

Consumption power in China, meanwhile, has been capped as the country goes through economic restructuring, while other emerging economies in the world have also shown signs of slowing, it said.

The developed economies of Europe remain weak while the U.S. will take some more time before being able to make a strong comeback, it said.

Gordon Sun, director of the Macroeconomic Forecasting Center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, also gave a pessimistic reading for Taiwan's exports over the entire year.

As December is not a peak season for electronics exporters, the month is unlikely to improve the figures for the year, Sun said.

In the first 11 months of this year, Taiwan's exports only rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to US$277.63 billion.

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