Taiwan: Exports drop in July and June export orders indicate lingering weakness
Merchandise exports decreased 0.5% in July compared to the same month a year earlier, contrasting the 0.5% increase in June. Exports of metals, machinery, and plastic and rubber products all fell in July, weighing on the overall reading. However, exports of electronic product parts—which account for just under a third of total shipments—increased slightly. Meanwhile, export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—fell 4.5% in June. This is up slightly from the 5.8% decrease in May but still suggests that Taiwan’s external sector will remain plagued by weak demand in the coming months.
Merchandise imports tumbled 5.4% in July, contrasting the 6.6% growth registered in June, on significantly lower mineral, chemical and metal imports.
The 12-month trailing sum of exports fell 1.3% in July, down from the 0.9% decrease in June, while growth of the 12-month trailing sum of imports was 2.9% in July, down from 5.0% in June.
The trade surplus rose to USD 3.6 billion in July from USD 2.3 billion in July 2018, but narrowed from the USD 3.9 billion surplus in the previous month. The 12-month trailing trade surplus rose to USD 45.2 billion in July from USD 43.9 billion in June.