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Taiwan's Exports Decrease for Eighth Month

Oct 26, 2015 | By Ken Liu

Taiwan's exports decline for an eighth month in September. Taiwan's exports decline for an eighth month in September.
Taiwan's exports in September dropped 14.6 percent year on year and 5.8 percent from a month ago, to US$22.54 billion, for the eighth monthly decline and a double-digit downward rate in four consecutive months.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) ascribes the double-digit rate decline mostly to fewer workdays in that month as result of the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays and days off due to typhoon, slower-than-expected de-stocking cycle of electronics inventory on the market, and the falling crud oil price.

The September result is the lowest monthly figure since October 2010, not including the Chinese New Year months.

The September result also helped escalate the falling rate of Taiwan's exports throughout the third quarter to 13.8 percent year on year, the worst quarter for the island's export so far this year.

Normally September is the beginning of Taiwan's yearly export high season, but this year its exports in September was even lower than that in the low seasons of May, June and July. Fortunately the steep devaluation of the NT-dollar against greenback in recent weeks decelerated the year-on-year contraction rate of the September exports in NT-dollar denomination to 7.2 percent from August's 9.8 percent.

In the Jan.-Sept. period, Taiwan's export value totaled US$212.4 billion, down 9.4 percent from the same period of last year.

Taiwan's imports also decreased at significant rate in September this year, contracting 24.4 percent year on year to only US$17.3 billion, the lowest monthly value since November 2009. Taiwan's total import value in the Jan.-Sept. period this year declined 16.5 percent year on year, to US$173.84 billion.

In September alone, the island's import of US$2.8 billion of capital equipment represented a decrease of 6 percent year on year, with the imports of eletromechanical equipment falling a significant 22.5 percent, or US$50 million, from the same month of last year.

Throughout the first nine months of this year, Taiwan's imports of capital equipment dipped 1.4 percent, or US$380 million, from the same period of last year, to US$27.56 billion.

MOF officials point out that although the island's capital-equipment imports for the first three quarters of this year declined  relative to the same period of last year, the overall imports were growing on quarterly basis.

They note that the improvements suggest local manufacturers are increasing investments in preparation for the perceived business opportunities on the international market.

Senior MOF officials estimate the island's exports to climb in the fourth quarter due to the arrival of Christmas shopping seasons in the West and the high season of the fossil fuel market.

Citing studies released by the non-profit Chunghua Institution for Economic Research, officials of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) point out that Taiwan's exports are confronted by competition from industrially-advanced economies muscling into lower-end market and competition from developing economies breaking into higher-end markets in an effort to reinvigorate their exports.


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