Taiwan March export orders see 4.3% rebound, driven by resumption of China factories

21, Apr. 2020

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TAIPEI, NNA – Taiwan’s export orders rebounded a steep 4.3 percent in March as factories in China resumed operations after a suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Orders grew to $40.26 billion versus March 2019, the highest increase since a 5.1 percent year-on-year surge in October 2018, according to data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ statistics department.

On month-on-month basis, the March figure jumped 40.4 percent, according to the data. China’s factory work sagged in February as workers were ordered to stay home after the Lunar New Year break.

Information and telecommunication products as well as electronics, the two largest of seven major export categories, contributed heavily to the jump. Information and telecom gear orders rose 6.9 percent year on year to $11.54 billion and electronics went up 23.8 percent to $12.45 billion.

The global Covid-19 pandemic spurred IT product demand such as smartphones, notebook computers and network products for telework and online learning, the ministry said in a statement. People in the world’s more severe lockdowns must work and study from home.

Rising demand in 5G telecommunications deployment and high-performance computing products pushed up orders for foundry, IC design, chip packaging, print circuit boards and memory chips, the stats department said in a statement.

Orders to Taiwan from the United States and China, including Hong Kong, both surged. Goods slated for the U.S. market rose 9.1 percent year on year to $11.75 billion and those bound for China rose 7.5 percent to 10.64 billion, the data show.

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The economic affairs ministry predicts 5G telecommunications, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and internet of thing technologies would continue to see demand overseas. Those technologies power IT and electronics devices such as those for telework and online learning.

But the growing pandemic and falling oil prices could weigh on global trade, investment and consumer sentiment, leading to weaker orders to Taiwan in the months ahead, the department’s statement added.

According to an outlook survey by the economic ministry for April, 43.5 percent foresee a “drop” in orders, 44.4 percent said the orders would “remain flat” and 12.2 percent predicted an “increase”.

Taiwan export orders in the January-March quarter slid 3.5 percent year on year to $104.24 billion, the data showed.