Taiwan: Exports accelerate in August, widening trade surplus
September 8, 2017
Taiwanese export growth gained momentum in August amid higher demand from mainland China, Hong Kong and the ASEAN countries. According to data released from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), exports rose 12.7% on a yearly basis in August for a total of USD 27.8 billion, accelerating from the 12.5% expansion reported in July. Exports of electronic parts, the lifeblood of Taiwanese shipments overseas, expanded robustly, more than counteracting the deceleration in exports of base metals and information products. China and Hong Kong’s demand for Taiwanese exports remained resilient in August in spite of ongoing political tensions.
Overall, August’s robust expansion translated into the fastest acceleration in the 12-month trailing sum of exports in over five years at a rate of 11.1% year-on-year (July: +10.1% year-on-year). The sum of exports of the 12 months up to August totaled USD 303 billion (July: USD 300 billion).
Meanwhile, imports also rose in annual terms from 6.5% in July to 6.9% in August, totaling USD 22.1 billion. As such, the 12-month trailing sum of imports trended higher at an annual increase of 12.1% (July: +11.4% yoy), which brought imports to a total of USD 251 billion year-on-year in August, up from USD 250 billion in July.
The strong performance in the external sector widened the trade balance surplus to a total of USD 5.7 billion in August, up from USD 5.4 billion in July. In the 12 months up to August, the trade surplus totaled USD 51.9 billion, above July’s USD 50.2 billion print and the best result in over two decades.
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist