Taiwan: Merchandise exports increase at a more moderate rate in March
Merchandise exports soared 21.3% on an annual basis in March (February: +34.8% year-on-year), once more driven by the electronics sector. Meanwhile, merchandise imports jumped 20.3% in annual terms in March (February: +35.3% yoy), marking the weakest result since February 2021. March’s rise was driven by higher international fuel prices, and higher imports of electronics—likely linked to input demand from the industrial sector.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 4.7 billion surplus in March (February 2022: USD 5.8 billion surplus; March 2021: USD 3.6 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed up, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 66.3 billion surplus in March, compared to the USD 65.2 billion surplus in February. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—soared 16.8% in March, suggesting still-upbeat export momentum going forward.
Looking forward, underlying export momentum should remain robust in 2022 on a healthy chip market, even as headline export growth moderates due to the tough base of comparison. However, the Ukraine war and slowdown in mainland China pose risks to external demand and supply chains.