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Taiwan Trade February 2023

Taiwan: Merchandise exports contract at a more moderate rate in February

Merchandise exports sank 17.1% in annual terms in February, following January’s 21.2% plummet. February’s reading was driven by steep declines in all subsectors. Looking at key markets, exports to China fell particularly sharply. Meanwhile, merchandise imports declined 9.4% in annual terms in February (January: -16.8% yoy) on lower imports of electronics, chemicals and base metals.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance recorded a USD 2.3 billion surplus in February (January 2023: USD 2.3 billion surplus; February 2022: USD 5.8 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 45.4 billion surplus in February, compared to the USD 48.8 billion surplus in January.

Exports are likely to remain downbeat in the near term as momentum eases in the developed world and semiconductor demand ebbs. However, a rebound in China’s economy will provide some support. Our analysts only see exports returning to growth in Q4 this year.

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