Exports last month surged 35.1 percent year-on-year to US$36.65 billion, the second-highest level in history, as demand for electronics remained strong, while a low base meant that non-technology products posted faster growth, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
The improving global economy accounted for the impressive showing that is likely to extend into the second half of the year with the arrival of the high sales season, Department of Statistics Director-General Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) told an online news conference in Taipei.
“‘Hot’ is the most appropriate word to characterize the state of exports,” Tsai said, forecasting an upswing of 29 to 33 percent for this month year-on-year.
In the second quarter, exports grew 37.4 percent year-on-year to US$1.09 billion, while imports rose 36.4 percent to US$915.3 million, both beating last month’s forecasts by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.
That suggests that the nation’s export-focused economy is likely to emerge from the domestic COVID-19 outbreak unscathed, despite a sharp decline in consumer activity.
Outbound shipments of electronic products last month grew 29.8 percent to a record US$14.51 billion, as demand for chips hit a new peak, Tsai said.
Exports of optical products, including flat panels and camera lenses, rose 29.5 percent to US$1.12 billion, data showed.
Smartphone camera lens maker Largan Precision Co (大立光) earlier this week said that its sales would pick up this month after an 18.51 percent year-on-year fall last month due to the slow season and the loss of major client Huawei Technologies Co (華為).
Shipments of plastic, base metal, chemical and mineral products registered steeper growth of 46.6 to 87.4 percent, as local firms benefited from increased infrastructure spending by the US and other nations, Tsai said, adding that a low base last year also lent support.
Exports to China, ASEAN, Japan, the US and Europe all grew by double-digit percentage points as vaccination programs enabled the world to gradually shake off the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Imports last month surged 42.3 percent to US$31.51 billion, giving Taiwan a trade surplus of US$5.1 billion, data showed.
Imports of agricultural and industrial materials grew 51.8 percent to US$21.95 billion, while imports of capital equipment increased 24.5 percent to US$5.5 million, the ministry said, adding that local technology firms are expanding their capacity to meet demand.
In the first six months of the year, exports advanced 31 percent year-on-year to US$206.91 billion, while imports expanded 28.6 percent to US$175.1 billion, the ministry said, while adding that uncertainty remains due to the spread of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2.
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