Taiwan saw export orders hit record high of US$215 B. in 2004

Jan 26, 2005 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Furniture Ι By Judy, CENS
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Taipei, Jan. 26, 2005 (CENS)--Export orders received by Taiwan's manufacturers and traders in 2004 broke the US$200 billion mark for the first time to hit a record high of US$215.09 billion, posting the highest annual rise of 26.5% in 17 years, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

In December of 2004 alone, the export orders reached US$19.8 billion, representing a sizable growth of 25.97% or US$4.08 billion from one year earlier. Orders for electronics goods enjoyed the highest annual growth US$800 million or 23.13%; followed by information technology (IT) with a gain of US$620 million or 19.06% and basic metals with an increase of US$550 million or 38.97%.

The same statistics showed that in December of 2004 the production of the manufacturing sector dropped 1.99%, the first fall since June of 2003, when the island was seriously impacted by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemics. The daily-necessity industries saw the largest production decline of 6.81%, and the electronics and information industries and the chemical industry each recorded an output drop of 3%.

MOEA noted that the shrinking production of manufacturing industries was mainly caused by the price hike of raw materials in the international market. The prices of raw materials are very likely to keep growing up, which is expected to push up the interest rates in the United States. The two factors and the possible hard landing of mainland Chinese economy are expected to influence the world's economic trend this year.

Accordingly, Taiwan's export growth may slow down as well. MOEA predicted that due to the cool-off of international economic climate, the growth rate of Taiwan's export orders is very likely to shrink to under 10% this year.

A survey done by MOEA showed that 36.46% of polled enterprises expected a fall in orders in January of this year and only 19.63% foresaw an increase. The latter was far less than the former by 16.83 percentage points.
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