Exports fell in September: finance minister
Finance Minister Chang Shengford said Saturday that Taiwan is expected to report a year-on-year fall in exports for September as the prolonged Mid-Autumn Festival holiday and an interruption by Typhoon Dujuan worsened the country's export performance.
Chang said that following sluggish pace in August, Taiwan's exports continued to be affected by weakening global demand, while the fall in the first half of September was narrowed to a single digit pace compared with August's 14.8-percent year-on-year decline.
Exports in the second half seemed to be impacted by a reduced number of working days resulting the long holiday of Sept. 26-28 and the Sept. 29 office closures for the typhoon, Chang said, adding that he is sure the Ministry of Finance (MOF) will report a year-on-year fall in exports for September.
The MOF is scheduled to release the September export data Oct. 7. If the ministry reports a fall in exports next week as expected, September will be the eighth consecutive month for Taiwan to suffer a year-on-year decline in exports.
In August, Taiwan felt the pinch of the impact from a slowdown in the world's economy, as well as a plunge in international crude oil prices, to report the disappointing trade data. The country's exports for August totaled US$23.93 billion, down 14.8 percent from a year earlier but up 1.6 percent from a month earlier.
In the first eight months of this year, Taiwan's exports fell 8.8 percent from a year earlier to US$189.89 billion.
"There is no sign that Taiwan's exports will climb out of the current doldrums any time soon as global demand remains weak," Chang told reporters. He said it is likely for Taiwan to report a year-on-year fall in exports for 2015.
Chang said that since exports account for about 60 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP), the weakness of the global market has dealt a serious blow to the country's economic growth.
In mid-August, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) cut its forecast for Taiwan's 2015 GDP growth to 1.56 percent from an earlier estimate of 3.28 percent. With the export performance deteriorating, Shih Su-mei, director-general of the DGBAS said Oct. 1 that it will be hard for Taiwan to maintain its GDP growth at a pace of 1 percent this year.
A fall in exports has boosted the number of workers taking unpaid leave, as most of the affected employers were exporters. As of the end of September, the number of workers on unpaid leave rose 84 percent from a month earlier to 1,233.