Taiwan: Exports drop for first time in over two years affected by Lunar New Year
February 9, 2012
In January, exports contracted for the first time in over two years, falling 16.8% over the same month last year to USD 21.1 billion. The reading contrasted the 0.6% expansion observed in December but came in broadly in line with market expectations, which had anticipated exports contracting 17.0%. That said, the negative monthly print was affected by the Lunar New Year holiday and exports in the combined January-February period should be broadly flat in annual terms, according to the government. The January decline was broad-based, but it was primarily driven by a drop in exports of electronic products ? which account for over a quarter of total exports ? as well as a decline in optical and precision instruments. Imports contracted 11.9% in January, which followed the 2.7% decline registered in December. As a result, the trade surplus shrank from USD 2.3 billion in December to USD 420 million in January. The government expects export growth to reach 5.0% this year.