Exports down 3.8 percent to US$25.63 bil. in May: Finance Ministry
Exports contracted 3.8 percent to US$25.63 billion last month from a year earlier, with the greatest retreat in information and communications products, the Finance Ministry ( ) reported yesterday.
In May, export orders for information and communications products totaled US$ 930 million, plummeting 24.7 percent from the same month last year on weakening global demand for cellphones ( down 50.9 percent to US$ 250 million) and phone accessories and components ( down 36.4 percent to US$ 100 million).
Exports in minerals and in rubber and plastic products shrank by 17.5 and 7 percent year-on-year, respectively.
In the electronics sector, orders fell 4.4 percent in May to US$8.18 billion: export value for DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) fell by 39.4 percent, media storage by 14.1 percent, solar batteries by 19.2 percent and diodes by 10.3 percent, according to the latest trade data.
Two product categories that posted positive growth include machine tool and transporta- tion equipment, where orders increased by 7.3 and 8 percent, respectively.
4th Month of Decline
The export figures mark the fourth consecutive month of decline. Total value from January to the end of May was US$119.36 billion, down 5.7 percent from the same period last year.
Imports also saw an annual decline in May of 5.4 percent to US$20.21 billion, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Cumulative i mports f rom January to the end of May was US$95.77 billion, a 14.7-percent
fall from the same period last year.
Chinese Competition and Global
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, ) said yesterday that the disappointing trade data can be traced mainly to Chinese supply chain competition and a slowing global economy.
A recent rebound in the price of international crude oil has softened overseas demand for Taiwan’s minerals and rubber and plastic products, an Economics Ministry official said.
Uneven global demand has also driven down the export orders of neighboring economies including South Korea, Singapore, mainland China and Japan.
South Korea’s export orders plunged 8 percent in April and then 10.9 percent in May, the official said. For Taiwan, a second major setback has been the strengthening “mainland Chinese supply chain,” with which it directly competes for international assembly orders.
This supply chain competition and a sluggish global economy can have significant mid to long-term ramifications for Taiwan, because it participates in very few freetrade agreements (FTAs) amid a proliferating regional network, the MOEA official said.