Taiwan: Merchandise exports grow at a milder pace in June
Merchandise exports shot up 35.1% annually in June, following May’s 38.5% jump. The data rounded out an extremely strong quarter for exports, notwithstanding water and power shortages and the imposition of Covid-19 restrictions at home and in other parts of Asia. All key subsectors recorded double-digit growth in June, with momentum in electronic exports the crucial driver. Meanwhile, merchandise imports climbed 42.3% on an annual basis in June amid higher energy prices (May: +41.0% yoy), marking the best result since February 2020.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 5.1 billion surplus in June (May 2021: USD 6.1 billion surplus; June 2020: USD 5.0 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed up, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 69.4 billion surplus in June, compared to the USD 69.2 billion surplus in May. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—shot up 34.5% in May, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting upbeat trade momentum going forward.
Annual growth rates for exports will likely ebb in H2 as the base effect grows notably less favorable. However, continuing strong global semiconductor demand will ensure underlying momentum remains solid, and the external sector should remain an important growth driver.