Taiwan Economic Outlook
The economy contracted in quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year terms in Q1, sharply undershooting market expectations. Steep falls in investment, industrial production and exports explained the grim reading amid softening global demand for electronics—including for semiconductors, exports of which are worth around 25% of GDP. In contrast, private consumption grew robustly. Turning to Q2, our panelists see GDP returning to growth in sequential and annual terms. Private consumption should be benefitting from cash handouts to citizens in April, while recovering tourism will be boosting services exports. However, the industrial sector will likely stay subdued on weak overseas demand. Available data hints at this dual-speed panorama in Q2: While the non-manufacturing PMI accelerated in April, in the same month the manufacturing PMI fell and merchandise exports declined by double digits.
Inflation dipped to 2.3% in April from 2.4% in March, and is around a third below its mid-2022 peak. Lower price pressures for food were offset by a softer fall in transport prices. Our panelists see inflation tracking close to 2% for the remainder of this year, tamed by tighter monetary policy and a pull-back in external price pressures.