Taiwan: Exports and imports rebound in November
Merchandise exports increased 3.3% in November in annual terms, contrasting October’s 1.5% contraction. The rebound came amid a strong increase in ICT exports, although falling exports of metals, machinery, plastics and rubber moderated the overall reading. Exports to the U.S. continued to surge—up almost 17% this month after October’s near-18% increase—with year-to-date results also showing 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 3.5% in October, the latest month for which data is available, suggesting softer export momentum ahead.
Meanwhile, merchandise imports rose 5.8% in November, contrasting the 4.1% decrease in October. The increase was primarily driven by a surge in machinery imports, which outweighed falling imports of electronic, mineral and chemical products.
The trade surplus was USD 4.3 billion in November, down from the USD 4.7 billion figure observed in November 2018, but nonetheless up from the USD 4.0 billion surplus in the previous month. The 12-month trailing trade surplus decreased to USD 45.7 billion in November from USD 46.1 billion in October.