cens logo

Taiwan Performs Well in 2014 International Trade Amid Growing Threats

Feb 09, 2015 | By Steve Chuang

Taiwan's exports total US$313.84 billion in 2014, up 2.7% YoY for an all-time high. (photo courtesy of UDN.com)Taiwan's exports total US$313.84 billion in 2014, up 2.7% YoY for an all-time high. (photo courtesy of UDN.com)

Compiled by STEVE CHUANG

Amid growing threats as continuous devaluation of Asia's major currencies against the greenback and intensifying rivalry from Korea, China and other emerging countries, as well as tepid economies in the EU periphery, Taiwan still scored robust  international trade figures in 2014.

The latest report by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) shows Taiwan's overall exports amounted to US$313.84 billion, up 2.7% year-on-year (YoY), albeit lower than the government's forecast of 3.02%, with the export revenue beating an all-time high.

The weaker-than-expected export growth was attributable mainly to plummeting international oil prices, to hammer the local mining, plastic and rubber sectors and therefore caused Taiwan's overall exports last December to hit a nadir of US$25.65 billion since March of the same year, for a 2.8% decline from a year ago. The disappointing result offset the 3.3% yearly growth seen in the cumulative exports for the first 11 months of the year.

Electronics Exports Up
Separately, Taiwan's exports of electronic parts and components totaled US$99.99 billion in 2014, up 13.5% YoY for a record high, to contribute to 3.9 percentage points to the overall export growth rate. Exports of integrated circuits, solar cells and LEDs showed a 15.1%, 13.5% and 9.6% surge, respectively, shows MOF's statistics.

With the global 3C (computer, communication and consumer electronic) industry continuously gaining steam from development of wearable electronics and IOT (Internet of Things), MOF is optimistic that the industry's exports will keep soaring in 2015, albeit uncertain whether its growth will be as strong as last year's.

In contrast to the electronic parts and component industry, the mining, optoelectronic and ICT (information and communication technology) sectors, however, generally struggled in 2014, as reflected in the MOF's statistics that show annual exports by the three sectors totally decreased US$6.7 billion compared to 2013, to dilute the overall export growth rate by 2.2 percentage points as result.

As for outlooks of local mining and ICT companies in 2015, MOF officials commented that growth of the mining sector exports is hinged on whether international oil prices will bottom, while exports of ICT products are less likely to decline deeper in the near term.

MOF's report indicates that Taiwan's overall imports totaled US$274.23 billion, inching up only 1.6% YoY, to result in a trade surplus of US$39.61 billion to set a zenith on record.

Disappointments in December
While steadily dropping oil prices are believed to  benefit most non-oil-producing nations and cut fuel and production costs for small and medium-sized manufacturers globally, particularly in Europe and Japan, cheaper oil is regarded responsible for Taiwan's disappointing trade results last December.

MOF's report shows Taiwan's exports reached US$25.65 billion, diving 3.9% month-on-month (MoM), or 2.8% YoY, to end a 10-month uptrend in the month, while imports also dropped to only US$21.2 billion, 5.6% less than a month ago or 12.3% lower than a year ago, with both figures being the worst since last March.

MOF officials found three obvious factors for the waning exports: declining exports of optoelectronic products, growth slowdown of electronic makers' exports, and, particularly, plummeting international oil prices. They explained that recent weak oil prices are making global buyers hesitant to place orders in case of further oil price drops, especially significant when OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), led by Saudi Arabia, are standing its ground not to cut oil production in the short term.

Blaming low oil prices seems rational, as exports by Taiwan's mining and petrochemical sectors declined by about US$1.2 billion as a whole last December compared to a year ago, driving down the overall export growth rate by around 4.5 percentage points as shown by MOF's report.

Overdependence on China
Taiwan's overdependence on the Chinese market has been frequently been proposed as cause to inevitably impact negatively the island's sustainable development in the long run, with such intractable issue not seeing significant improvement last year.

According to statistics of Taiwan Customs, China along with Hong Kong absorbed 39.7% of Taiwan's exports last year, almost equal to that in 2013. Officials from Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) continue to pledge to focus on reducing the island's overdependence on the Chinese market by assisting Taiwanese exporters to explore other overseas markets.

While China remained the biggest buyer of  Taiwan-made goods, the island's exports to the U.S. among other countries showed the strongest growth of 7.1% last year, to put the country ahead of Japan as Taiwan's second-largest trade partner by trade volume. To help local firms better explore the U.S. market, BOFT plans to lead eight supplier groups stateside this year.

Outlook for 2015
Taiwan's trade outlook for 2015 seems bright, as MOF forecasts the island's exports to keep trending upward at 3%-plus growth in the year, which, however, depends on a couple of economic and market factors, including the U.S. Federal Reserve's new monetary policy and timetable to raise interest rates amid low inflation; continuing  rise of China globally that may result in  Taiwanese suppliers supplanted by Chinese; steady depreciation of Asia's major currencies against U.S. dollar; more quantitative easing worldwide; growing geopolitical risks as that in the Ukraine; the impact of Korea-U.S. free trade agreements on Taiwan, EU and other nations, and so on.

Despite Taiwan's strong export growth in 2014, mainly driven by iPhone 6 sales, experts from Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, an economic and market research institute, warns that Taiwan encounters foreboding structural problems that will add to growth uncertainty this year, such as the failure to participate in regional economic integration, slow progress to upgrade local industries, and intensifying rivalry from Korean and Chinese competitors.
(SC)

Taiwan's Export Categories and Destinations Seeing New High in Value in 2014

Value
Category
Electronic Parts and Components
US$99.99 Bn.
Transportation Equipment
US$11.65 Bn.
Machinery
US$20.89 Bn.
Destination
China and Hong Kong
US$124.69 Bn.
ASEAN countries
(Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei)
US$58.64 Bn.
Japan
US$19.91 Bn.
Total Exports
(YoY Growth Rate)
US$313.84 Bn.
(2.7%)
Source: Ministry of Finance

Comparison between Taiwan and Korea's Exports
Year
Taiwan
Korea
Value
Growth Rate
Value
Growth Rate
2013
US$305.44 Bn.
1.4%
US$559.63 Bn.
2.1%
2014
313.84 Bn.
2.7%
US$573.10 Bn.
2.4%
Source: Ministry of Finance


Industry In-Focus

SINOSTEEL Corporation: Rising price in Steel</h2>

SINOSTEEL Corporation: Rising price in Steel

Jun 05, 2020

Brazil’s new crown pneumonia epidemic has rapidly increased. Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, is facing an out-of-control impact. The market is worried that iron ore production and sales will be affected. new highs. Experts from Sinosteel (2002) evaluated that steel prices will rise steadily under the effect of rising costs, with a promising outlook. According to a legal p...


Apple Invests Millions in LED Plant in Taiwan</h2>

Apple Invests Millions in LED Plant in Taiwan

Jun 01, 2020

Apple is considering to invest over US$330 million in a factory in northern Taiwan to manufacture both LED and micro-LED displays for its iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and other new devices. Apple is teaming up on the new factory with Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, and Taiwanese LCD panel maker, AU Optronics. The plant will be located in the Longtan branch of the Hsinchu Science Park and Appl...


Taiwan Machinery Was Applauded in COVID-19</h2>

Taiwan Machinery Was Applauded in COVID-19

May 18, 2020

What the epidemic showed was the amazing flexibility of Taiwan's machine tool industry. Taiwan, which has allowed the semiconductor industry to specialize in the past, has finally realized that these machine tool industries with amazing strength are the "invisible champions" of Taiwan's economy. In early February, three companies -- Habor Precision, Tongtai Machine & Tool and Taiwan Takisawa -...



Industry Reports

K, the leading global plastic and rubber trade fair (Photo courtesy of Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann)

K, The World's Leading Trade Fair for Plastic and Rubber Industry

Jul 24, 2020

2019 K Show, the leading global trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, had been held in Düsseldorf on 16-23 October, 2019. There were 3,330 exhibitors from 63 nations proved impressively: plastics continue to be an innovative, indispensable material. But they also unanimously underscored the necessity of having operational circular economies along the complete material chain and to this...


Photo courtesy of CENS

Digital Healthcare & Technology at the Heart of Las Vegas CES 2020

Jul 14, 2020

■ Hubert Chih The number of healthcare exhibitors at the 2020 CES in Las Vegas increased significantly by 23% from 2019. According to the analysis and report by the CES organizer, digital healthcare and technology were the focus in the healthcare exhibition. In addition to the continued expansion of healthcare coverage, the reduction of healthcare costs, the improvement of effectiveness and th...


The Taiwan Hardware Show sees global buyer attendance. (Photo provided by Kaigo Co.)

Taiwan's Hand Tools Seeking Opportunities Amid Global Crisis

Jul 10, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, most of the international hardware shows slated for this year has been moved to 2021. However, as Taiwan’s efforts combating the new virus has proven to be successful, the 2020 Taiwan Hardware Show (THS) will continue as scheduled, beginning on Oct. 13 and ending on the 15th at the Taichung International Exhibition Center, thus becoming the only sh...



Supplier News

With professional technics and rigorous quality control, Kung Hsing gains high-reputation in the industry</h2>

With professional technics and rigorous quality control, Kung Hsing gains high-reputation in the industry

Jul 23, 2020

Kung Hsing Plastic Machinery Co., LTD., founded in 1972, is the brainchild of the company President Tsai Chin-lien’s over 48 years of experience in designing and producing extrusion machines. The firm stood by its belief to uphold integrity and offer the best quality and services, eventually becoming a leader in the extrusion machinery industry in Taiwan. Kung Hsing currently has two factories; t...

KUNG HSING PLASTIC MACHINERY CO., LTD.


INTYPE ENTERPRISE CO., LTD. TUNG TAI MACHINE WORKS CO., LTD. </h2>

INTYPE ENTERPRISE CO., LTD. TUNG TAI MACHINE WORKS CO., LTD.

Jul 21, 2020

■ Tseng Lung-nan Intype Enterprise has built up 55 years of experience in producing extruders, though the firm is placing greater consideration on rapidly degrading of the global environment. In the past 20 years, Intype has become an active contributor to building up a global ecosystem, enabling them to reuse the products manufactured by their own extruders and avoid further waste. The firm t...

INTYPE ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.


YFCM Carbon Fiber Driveshaft Lauded in the field of Modified Cars for its Flexibility </h2>

YFCM Carbon Fiber Driveshaft Lauded in the field of Modified Cars for its Flexibility

Jul 14, 2020

■Hsiao Yung-le Yifeng Technology Co., Ltd. specializes in the research and development of carbon fiber transmission shafts and the manufacture of carbon fiber related products.The carbon fiber material has the characteristics of lightweight, impact resistance, fatigue resistance, and corrosion, and chemical stability is quite high. The product type is increasing in the extensive range with an ...

YI FENG COMPOSITE MATERIAL TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.



Insiders' Views

Caption: Pictured from front row, third right, Changhua County Government Economic Affairs Department Director Liu Yu-ping, County Magistrate Wang Huei-mei, Secretary Chen Bo-tsun pose in front of the exhibition booth. (Photo provided by CHCIA)

Changhua County Government Shores up Biz-Matching to Global Buyers

Nov 18, 2019

■Yang Feng-Chun In a bid to assist manufacturers in Changhua County to expand their market reach overseas against severe competition in the globalized market, Changhua County Government has been an active player in pushing for a makeover and innovation of its local small and medium-sized enterprises. This is done in hopes of establishing stronger connection with international markets. An ex...


Paul Master offers high-quality chassis and engines parts for passenger cars, trucks, and industrial trucks. (Photo courtesy of Paul Master)

Paul Master Builds Reputation with Auto Chassis and Engine Parts

Nov 18, 2019

Founded in 1980, Paul Master Auto Parts Co. is headquartered in Taiwan, a professional manufacturer of chassis and engines parts for passenger cars, trucks, and industrial trucks including forklifts. General Manager Terry Liang said the company has its own professional design department, which provides customized products and specifications for global buyers, including automobile steering and...

PAUL MASTER AUTO PARTS CO.


Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd.</h2><p class='subtitle'>Taiwan First brakes Technology Co., Ltd. </p>

Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd.

Taiwan First brakes Technology Co., Ltd.

Sep 04, 2019

Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd is one of the major manufacturers of automobile friction materials in Taiwan and globally. Chairman Austin Cheng has implemented the double-arrow strategy this year - own brand of “YangPo” is adopted to focus on global channels while the “NHC brand focuses on improving market shares in global markets, such as Europe, America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle E...



Exhibition Highlights

Koelnmesse (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

Announcement on Postponement of China International Hardware Show 2020 (CIHS 2020)

Jul 10, 2020

In view of the continuous spreading of COVID-19 all over the world and the latest epidemic prevention requirements of China and the government of Shanghai, in order to guarantee the health and safety of exhibitors, purchasers and professional visitors, China National Hardware Association and Koelnmesse have prudently decided to postpone China International Hardware Show 2020 (CIHS 2020) from Augu...


Automechanika Shanghai 2020 creates channels for cross-sector collaboration</h2>

Automechanika Shanghai 2020 creates channels for cross-sector collaboration

Jun 16, 2020

This year, Automechanika Shanghai continues to serve the entire automotive value chain by offering opportunities for information exchange, marketing, trade and education. Both vertically and horizontally, from OE, vehicle production to the aftermarket, it incorporates all elements of manufacturing, supply networks, services, new business models and information technology. Companies across the...


Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd

CAPAS defers to 2021

Apr 20, 2020

Following the Chinese Government’s initiatives to prevent and control the COVID-19 outbreak, the organisers of the Chengdu International Trade Fair for Automotive Parts and Aftermarket Services (CAPAS) have announced the defer of the show’s 2020 edition. The fair, originally scheduled from 21 to 23 May 2020, will now be held from 20 to 22 May 2021. In China, the State Council issued an announc...