Taiwan: Exports fall in October, but at a moderated pace
Merchandise exports decreased 1.5% in October in annual terms, after decreasing 4.6% in September. The moderated drop was in part due to a strong increase in ICT exports, although falling exports of metals, machinery, plastics and rubber all weighed on the overall reading. Meanwhile, export orders—which typically lead actual exports by two to three months—dropped 4.9% in September, the latest month for which data is available, after decreasing 8.3% in August.
Merchandise imports, meanwhile, decreased 4.1% in October, down from the 0.6% decrease in September. This latest fall was due to a slump in petroleum imports, likely on lower prices.
The 12-month trailing sum of exports fell 2.6% in October, down from a 1.8% drop in September, while the 12-month trailing sum of imports decreased 1.0% in October, contrasting the 0.8% increase in September.
The trade surplus widened to USD 4.0 billion in October from both USD 3.3 billion in October 2018 and USD 3.1 billion in the previous month. The 12-month trailing trade surplus increased to USD 46.1 billion in October from USD 45.4 billion in September.