Taiwan: Exports contract in April, pushing trade surplus to a 15-month low
Merchandise exports contracted 1.3% in annual terms in April, following March’s 0.6% fall. The mild overall drop masked markedly lower exports of base metals, plastics and machinery, partially offset by higher outflows of electronic products. Meanwhile, export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—increased 0.8% in March, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting a pick-up in trade momentum going forward.
Meanwhile, merchandise imports inched up 0.5% year-on-year in April, equaling the increase recorded in the prior month. The uptick was driven by significantly higher electronic product imports—suggesting healthy domestic demand dynamics—partially offset by slumping petroleum inflows.
As such, the trade surplus dropped to a 15-month low of USD 2.3 billion in April, down from both the USD 2.7 billion figure observed in April 2019, and the USD 2.8 billion surplus recorded in the previous month. The 12-month trailing trade surplus inched down to USD 43.5 billion in April from USD 44.0 billion in March, the lowest in over five years