Taiwan: Merchandise exports increase at a milder rate in August
Merchandise exports soared 26.9% over the same month last year in August, on the heels of July’s 34.7% jump. That said, August’s outturn marked the softest increase since February, with the slowdown driven by softer growth of electronics exports. Meanwhile, merchandise imports jumped 46.3% on an annual basis in August (July: +41.0% yoy), marking the best result since May 2010, amid faster growth in imports of base metals and chemicals.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 3.5 billion surplus in August (July 2021: USD 5.9 billion surplus; August 2020: USD 6.5 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 66.8 billion surplus in August, compared to the USD 69.8 billion surplus in July. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—climbed 21.4% in July, the latest month for which data is available. This suggests solid—albeit gradually moderating—trade momentum going forward.
Annual growth rates for exports will likely continue to ebb in H2 as the base effect grows less favorable and demand in developed economies normalizes. However, the external sector should remain an important growth driver nonetheless thanks to the semiconductor sector.