Taiwan: Merchandise exports jump at a softer pace in October
Merchandise exports jumped 24.6% year-on-year in October (September: +29.2% year-on-year). October’s result marked the softest growth since February. Despite the softer October growth reading, Taiwan’s export sector remains in good shape, spurred by strong demand for the country’s semiconductors. Meanwhile, merchandise imports shot up 37.2% over the same month last year in October (September: +40.4% yoy), marking the worst result since April 2021.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 6.1 billion surplus in October (September 2021: USD 6.4 billion surplus; October 2020: USD 7.4 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 64.7 billion surplus in October, compared to the USD 66.0 billion surplus in September. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—jumped 25.7% in September, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting upbeat trade momentum going forward.
On the outlook for the chip sector, Iris Pang, Greater China chief economist at ING, commented:
“The yearly growth rates of semiconductor chips in terms of manufacturing and exports could weaken in 2022. We have already seen monthly growth slowing due to production capacity hitting bottlenecks. This issue will not be resolved next year as new production lines only just started to be built in mid-2021. The result is that we expect to see more moderate production and export data in 2022 due to this capacity constraint.”