Taiwan exports plummet again as Chinademand weakens

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TAIPEI: Taiwan’s exports plummeted by 14.8 percent in August year-on-year to $23.93 billion, figures showed on Monday, as the island feels the shockwaves of China’s slowing economy.

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The $4.1 billion drop is the seventh consecutive monthly fall for exports.

The electronics sector as well as minerals, metals and chemical products accounted for much of the decline, the finance ministry said in a statement.

“Demand from the major markets was feeble, inventory levels were high and oil and steel prices low,” it said, following a fall of 11.9 percent in July.

And with little chance of Chinese GDP growth returning to its previous level, analysts said Taiwan’s export woes seemed set to continue.

“The sharper decline in exports was attributable to the mainland’s worse-than-expected economic performance. This was a new issue from the previous month,” Gordon Sun, the head of the Macroeconomic Forecasting Center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, told Agence France-Presse.

“As the [Taiwan] economy is likely to contract in the third quarter, and as it is not expected to fare well in the fourth quarter, it would be difficult to maintain GDP growth above the one percent level.”

Shipments to its leading overseas markets — the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong — contracted by 16.6 percent in August from the previous year.

Sales to Southeast Asia and Japan fell by 18.9 and 12.6 percent, respectively, the finance ministry said.

Taiwan last month slashed its growth forecast for 2015 to a lower-than-expected 1.56 percent.

Traditionally an export-driven technology hub, Taiwan has benefited from Apple’s new iPhone 6, launched last year.

A number of top Taiwanese firms such as Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co are reportedly among Apple’s suppliers.

But China has been pushing to grow its own tech industry with the development of domestic smartphone brands and homegrown hardware, including chips.
AFP

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