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Taiwan Trade September 2023

Taiwan: Merchandise exports rebound in September

Merchandise exports increased 3.4% over the same month last year in September (August: -7.3% year-on-year). September’s outturn marked the fastest outturn since July 2022 and the first expansion in exports since August 2022. The reading was driven by a 60% surge in IT exports, amid firms launching new products and rising global demand for AI, which more than offset lower electronics, machinery and metal exports. Meanwhile, merchandise imports plunged 12.2% in annual terms in September (August: -23.0% yoy), marking the strongest reading since February 2023.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 10.3 billion surplus in September (August 2023: USD 8.6 billion surplus; September 2022: USD 5.1 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 65.4 billion surplus in September, compared to the USD 60.1 billion surplus in August.

Looking ahead, the Ministry of Finance expects exports to be roughly stable or decline slightly year on year in October. Our panelists expect exports to expand next year following this year’s contraction.

On the reading and outlook, EIU analysts said:

“Stellar growth in exports of information, communication and audiovisual products (up by 59.8% year on year) affirms EIU’s view that a prolonged period of high global electronics inventories is ending. […] Signs of moderating inflation and economic resilience in key Western overseas markets underpin our expectations of a Taiwanese trade recovery in 2024.”

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