Mainly dampened by steadily declining steel exports to China, which remain subject to 3-8% duties, the output value of Taiwan's steel industry totaled only NT$405.1 billion (US$13.5 billion) for the first four months of this year, down 5.6% year-on-year (YoY), according to the statistics by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
MOEA said that the industry's output drastically dropped 38% YoY to NT$953.6 billion (US$31.78 billion) in 2009, when the global market was seriously impacted by the financial tsunami, and then rebounded by 48.2% in 2010, and hit an all-time high of NT$1.5146 trillion (US$504.86 billion) in 2011, mostly due to brisk demand from the domestic downstream sectors and growing public works projects and housing starts.
However, anxious about oversupply in the global market, particularly in Asia, due to by Chinese steelmakers having aggressively developed and boosted supply in recent years, Taiwan's steel industry has seen its overall output and export to China continuously slide since 2012.
In the past few years, exports had contributed nearly 30% to the industry's output, mostly going to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries. MOEA's statistics show that exports to the ASEAN bloc made up 21.6% of the total last year, a four-year high, when the share of those to China (including Hong Kong) dived to 14.1% from 23.8% in 2009.
J.C. Tsou, chairman of the Taiwan Steel & Iron Industries Association, says that exports to China have steadily declined partly due to high tariffs, and partly due to oversupply in the country. To revive the industry's growth, Tsou has advised Taiwan to step up negotiations with China on striking cross-strait goods trade agreements to offer lower duty relief or exemption on steel exports.
Over the past years, imports of China-made steels have significantly increased, to command 25.2% of Taiwan's domestic market last year compared to 9.7% in 2009. Japan has remained the island's largest steel import source, but its market share has gradually slid, to 28.9% last year from 32.4% in 2009, shows MOEA's statistics. (SC)
|Taiwan's Steel Output Value Growth Rate and Exports to China by Year|
|| YoY Growth Rate of Output Value
|| Exports to China
|| - 38%
|| US$2.9 Bn.
|| US$3.2 Bn.
|| US$3.2 Bn.
|| - 14.9%
|| US$2.6 Bn.
|| - 4.9%
|| US$2.5 Bn.
| Jan.-Apr., 2014
|| - 5.6%
|| Not estimated yet
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