Taiwan: Merchandise exports rise at a more moderate rate in April
Merchandise exports shot up 18.8% in annual terms in April, on the heels of March’s 21.3% upturn and once again spurred by higher electronics exports. Meanwhile, merchandise imports jumped 26.7% over the same month last year in April (March: +20.3% yoy) amid higher imports of mineral products and chemicals.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 4.9 billion surplus in April (March 2022: USD 4.7 billion surplus; April 2021: USD 6.1 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 65.1 billion surplus in April, compared to the USD 66.3 billion surplus in March. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—climbed 16.8% in March, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting still-strong trade 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. Meanwhile, import growth will be sustained by higher prices for key commodities, given Taiwan is highly dependent on imported energy.