Taiwan: Buoyant global tech demand drives faster export growth in December
January 8, 2018
Merchandise exports rose 14.8% year-on-year in December to a total of USD 29.5 billion, an over four-year high which largely beat analysts’ expectations of more moderate 9.5% growth. The strong reading followed November’s surprisingly high print (+14.0% year-on-year), and signaled strong momentum in the external sector through Q4.
Exports of electronic parts, which account for a third of Taiwan’s total shipments, again drove the December reading with a stellar 20.5% year-on-year expansion (November: +16.0% yoy). The print reflected buoyant global demand for smartphones and tablets, amid the launch of new mobile devices by several global manufacturers. Other main export components such as machinery, and information and communication products likewise accelerated from the double-digit growth recorded in November, while exports of plastic products and base metals decelerated from the previous month.
The 12-month trailing sum of exports expanded 13.2% in December, a marginal increase from the 13.1% increase recorded in November. This brought the sum of exports in the 12 months up to December to USD 317 billion, up from USD 314 billion in the 12 months up to November.
Growth in imports accelerated to 12.2% year-on-year, to a total import value of USD 23.4 billion (November: USD 22.9 billion), exceeding November’s 9.0% reading. Growth in the 12-month trailing sum of imports, however, remained stable from November at 12.6%. Imports totaled USD 259 billion in the 12 months leading to December (November: USD 257 billion).
Finally, the trade balance surplus expanded slightly from USD 6.0 billion in November to USD 6.1 billion in December. This brought the total trade surplus over the past 12 months to a new multi-decade record of USD 57.9 billion in December, up from the USD 56.6 billion registered in November.
Author: Joffrey Simonet, Economist