Taiwan’s foreign trade increased 5.5 percent to US$48.08 billion in December on the back of a recovering global economy and Lunar New Year inventory purchases by mainland Chinese firms, according to the Ministry of Finance Jan. 7.
The latest MOF statistics showed Taiwan’s exports climbed 9 percent year on year to US$26.1 billion, while imports inched up 1.6 percent to US$21.98 billion. The country’s net trade surplus surged 78 percent to US$4.13 billion.
Yeh Maan-tzwu, director-general of the MOF Department of Statistics, credited the encouraging results to robust demand for Taiwan’s display panels, oil products and transportation equipment, which all registered double-digit growth from the year before.
“A strong sign is the 2.1 percent increase in exports of information and communication technology products, the first gain after a 13-month decline,” she said. “Imports were supported by demand for capital equipment, raw materials and record high shipments of consumer goods, especially handsets.”
Exports to Japan and mainland China, including Hong Kong, and Taiwan’s six major trading partners from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations all posted double-digit gains, with the 11 percent increase of shipments to Europe reversing a seven-month downward trend.
Taiwan’s full-year exports dipped 2.3 percent to US$301.11 billion year on year, while imports decreased 3.8 percent to US$270.73 billion. Foreign trade was down 3 percent to US$571.84 billion, with net trade surplus surging 13.27 percent to an all-time high of US$30.38 billion.
While the foreign trade figure for 2012 marks the fifth annual decline since 1975, Yeh said she remains cautiously optimistic about the country’s export outlook for the first quarter due to stabilizing conditions in emerging markets and the introduction of new mobile devices by leading ICT firms worldwide.
Yeh’s positive outlook is influenced in part by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ continuous drive to expand Taiwan’s export markets, with a focus on 11 nations in Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
As a result of these efforts, the MOEA expects Taiwan’s exports to surge 5.5 percent and top US$317.7 billion this year. (JSM)