Taiwan: Merchandise exports increase at a quicker pace in April
Merchandise exports soared 38.7% on an annual basis in April, following March’s 27.1% jump and driven once again by booming semiconductor exports. April’s reading marked the largest expansion since July 2010. Meanwhile, merchandise imports climbed 26.4% on an annual basis in April (March: +27.0% yoy) amid higher commodity prices.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 6.2 billion surplus in April (March 2021: USD 3.7 billion surplus; April 2020: USD 2.4 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 67.9 billion surplus in April, compared to the USD 64.2 billion surplus in March. Export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—shot up 33.3% in March, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting upbeat trade momentum going forward.
On whether current strong semiconductor exports will last, Jeong Woo Park, economist at Nomura, commented:
“Most chip shortages are occurring in the foundry market—the outsourcing of chip manufacturing—where Taiwan’s chipmakers are the dominant players. With chip demand consistently outpacing supply, Taiwan’s chip exports will benefit from the super cycle, led by both strong demand and higher chip prices.”