Export orders hit a new record of US$51.6 billion last month, growing for an eighth straight month on an annual basis, bolstered by strong demand for smartphones, game consoles and 5G-related applications, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The figure represented a monthly expansion of 3.1 percent from US$50.03 billion and 9.1 percent from US$47.28 billion a year earlier.
Export orders have continued to trend up this month, likely reaching US$51 billion to US$52.5 billion, the ministry said.
That would represent an annual growth of 14.53 to 17.89 percent from US$44.53 billion in November last year.
“The release of a major international smartphone products, as well as continued strong demand for ICT [information and communications technology] products has given us another strong month,” Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲) said. “Panel makers told us that demand is outpacing supply.”
Orders for ICT products grew 22.2 percent month-on-month, or 4.4 percent annually, to US$17 billion last month, ministry data showed.
Electronic products weighed in at US$15.2 billion, down 5.2 percent month-on-month, but up 17.5 percent year-on-year.
Optical products dropped 5.5 percent month-on-month to US$2.3 billion last month, but registered an annual growth of 16.8 percent.
“September was probably the absolute peak for electronic products orders, but we can see from the year-on-year growth that the COVID-19-related demand for electronic products is still going strong,” she said.
Orders for basic metals were US$2.3 billion, up 6.1 percent month-on-month and 11.5 percent year-on-year.
Huang attributed the growth to recent increases in international steel prices.
Orders for machine tools shrank 1.3 percent month-on-month to US$1.9 billion, but grew 13.2 percent annually.
Orders for petrochemical products inched up 0.4 percent to US$2.1 billion last month from a month earlier, representing an annual expansion of 13.1 percent.
“Demand for consumer products is warming up,” Huang said.
Regionally, the US accounted for US$17 billion orders last month, up 13.6 percent month-on-month and 17.1 percent year-on-year.
China and Hong Kong accounted for US$11.8 billion in orders, down 18 percent month-on-month, but up 10.7 percent year-on-year.
The EU accounted for US$11.4 billion in orders, up 29.8 percent month-on-month, but down 0.1 percent year-on-year.
ASEAN came in fourth, with US$4.1 billion in orders, down 6.9 percent month-on-month, but up 6.1 percent year-on-year.
Due to the strength of the local currency, export orders in New Taiwan dollar terms last month only grew 2.7 percent versus 9.1 percent when calculated in US dollars.
The impact on Taiwanese companies is still “mostly manageable,” Huang said.
“Most larger companies hedge for foreign exchange fluctuations,” she said. “They also tend to be price-setters who can pass on the cost of a stronger NT dollar to their customers.”
However, she acknowledged that small and medium-sized enterprises “would be hurting.”
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