Taiwan Trade December 2019


Taiwan: Exports and imports both climb in December, while trade surplus declines

January 7, 2020

Merchandise exports increased 4.0% in December in annual terms, following November’s 3.3% expansion. The reading reflected a strong increase in ICT and electronics parts exports. Exports to the U.S. continued their upward trajectory—up almost 13% this month after November’s near-17% increase—with year-to-date results highlighting the increased importance of the U.S. as a trading partner, likely linked to trade diversion from China. However, export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—decreased 6.6% in November, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting dwindling export momentum going forward.

Meanwhile, merchandise imports rocketed 13.9% higher in December following the 5.8% increase in November, and was primarily driven by a surge in machinery imports.

As such, the trade surplus fell to USD 2.5 billion in December, down from the USD 4.7 billion figure observed in December 2018, and from the USD 4.3 billion surplus in the previous month. The 12-month trailing trade surplus decreased to USD 43.5 billion in December from USD 45.6 billion in November.

Our panelists forecast that exports will expand 3.2% in 2020 and imports will rise 3.8%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 56.1 billion. In 2021, our panel expects exports will expand 0.8% and imports will rise 1.0%, pushing down the trade surplus to USD 55.9 billion.

Author:, Economist

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Taiwan Trade Chart

Taiwan Trade12m December 2019

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual average variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports.
Source: Ministry of Finance (MOF) and FocusEconomics calculations.

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