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