Taiwan Trade Balance May 2022


Taiwan: Merchandise exports increase at a more moderate pace in May

June 8, 2022

Merchandise exports rose 12.5% year-on-year in May, on the heels of April’s 18.8% upturn. The outturn marked the weakest growth since February 2021, and was driven by a sharp slowdown in exports to China, likely as a result of Chinese Covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, merchandise imports jumped 26.7% on an annual basis in May (April: +26.7% yoy), due to far higher commodity prices.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 2.4 billion surplus in May (April 2022: USD 4.9 billion surplus; May 2021: USD 6.1 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 61.7 billion surplus in May, compared to the USD 65.4 billion surplus in April. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—dived 5.5% in April, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting soft trade momentum going forward. The decline in export orders confounded market expectations of a double-digit increase, and was linked to lockdowns in China.

Looking forward, lingering pandemic restrictions in China are set to weigh on exports in the near term. However, healthy global semiconductor demand should provide support. Meanwhile, import growth will be sustained by higher prices for key commodities, given Taiwan is highly dependent on imported energy and food.

FocusEconomics panelists see exports and imports rising 10.6% and 13.5% respectively in 2022, bringing the trade surplus to USD 60.5 billion. In 2023, our panel expects exports and imports to grow 5.3% and 4.2% respectively, with a trade surplus of USD 68.5 billion.


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Taiwan Trade Balance Chart

Taiwan Trade12m May 2022

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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