Taiwan Trade Balance December 2020


Taiwan: Merchandise exports growth remains upbeat in December

January 8, 2021

Merchandise exports jumped 12.0% annually in December, matching November’s result. Meanwhile, merchandise imports growth moderated to 0.9% over the same month last year in December (November: +10.0% yoy). Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—soared 29.7% in November, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting robust trade momentum going forward.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 5.8 billion surplus in December (November 2020: USD 5.3 billion surplus; December 2019: USD 2.5 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 58.8 billion surplus in December, compared to the USD 55.5 billion surplus in November.

Commenting on the result, Iris Pang, Greater China Chief Economist at ING, said:

“Stronger-than-expected export growth is a good sign that Taiwan's semiconductor sector enjoyed more sales before lockdowns tightened in export markets. […] But the picture is quite gloomy for imports. […] We believe the low import growth was a result of manufacturers being wary of building up inventories, especially for machinery, as export markets have been under lockdown and it is close to the Chinese New Year […] We don't think that the recent appreciation of the Taiwan dollar against the USD will change the appetite for imports if manufacturers continue to expect a stronger recovery of export demand.”

FocusEconomics panelists forecast that exports will expand 3.5% in 2021 and imports will rise 5.1%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 58.3 billion. In 2022, our panel expects exports to grow 4.3% and imports to increase 4.8%, pushing up the trade surplus to USD 59.3 billion.


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Taiwan Trade Balance Chart

Taiwan Trade12m December 20 20

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual average variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports.
Source: Ministry of Finance (MoF) and FocusEconomics calculations.

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