Taiwan April exports fall for 6th month in a row amid global slowdown

09, May. 2019

TAIPEI, NNA – Slowing global growth caused by the U.S.-China trade row continued to dampen Taiwan’s economy in April, when exports posted a year-on-year drop for the sixth straight month.

In the first four months of the year, exports fell 4.0 percent from a year earlier, while imports were flat, data from the Ministry of Finance released Tuesday showed.

Key points:

―― Exports fell 3.3 percent in April from a year earlier, coming in weaker than the consensus economist forecast of a 3.1 percent drop. The decrease was led by chemicals, plastics and rubber as well as base metals and products. However, the pace of decline decelerated from -4.4 percent in March and -8.8 in February.

―― Imports rose 2.6 percent on year on purchases of chip making equipment and shale oil, after +6.6 percent in March.

―― The trade surplus came to 82.7 billion New Taiwan dollars ($2.69 billion), narrowing 31.8 percent from a year earlier.

―― Exports to primary markets dropped (China and Hong Kong combined -8.8 percent and Japan -5.7 percent), except for those to the United States (+21.5 percent). Taiwan’s January-to-April exports to the U.S. and Japan both increased at a record pace of 19.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Takeaway:

―― External demand remained slow despite potential business opportunities in areas such as fifth generation communications technology, automobile electronics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and high-performance computing.

―― Taiwan is expected to see continued weak exports through the first half of the year in light of an extended life cycle of high-end smart phones and uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute.