TAIPEI: Taiwan's export orders unexpectedly expanded in August on strong demand for technology and new consumer electronics product launches even as its largest market China faced continued headwinds.
The government said the outlook was mixed though.
Export orders, a bellwether for global technology demand, grew 2 per cent last month from a year earlier to US$54.59 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday (Sep 20). Analysts had expected a drop of 2 per cent.
August's rise followed a 1.9 per cent annual contraction in July.
Orders for telecommunications products rose 3.1 per cent in August from a year ago due mostly to cellphone orders, the ministry said. Apple, which many Taiwanese firms make components for, put its latest iPhones on sale this month.
Orders for electronic products jumped 15.4 per cent, driven by semiconductor demand for high-end computing, automobiles and stockpiling for new consumer electronics, the ministry said.
A trend of working and studying from home that started during the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled a growth in orders for Taiwanese electronics for more than two years. More recently, a global semiconductor shortage has also filled Taiwanese chipmakers' order books.
The ministry said it expected this month's export orders to be between 7 per cent and 9.4 per cent lower than those of September 2021.
Looking ahead, it said that new consumer electronics products from "various international brands", demand for high-end computing, 5G and automotive electronics would help export orders remain stable.
But the ministry said high global inflation, increased geopolitical risks and the emergence of new COVID-19 strains were all uncertainties pressuring export order growth.
Taiwanese companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing are major suppliers to Apple, Qualcomm and other global tech firms.
Taiwan's August orders from China fell 25.5 per cent from a year earlier, compared with an annual fall of 22.6 per cent in July. Month-on-month, orders from China edged down 0.1 per cent.
Orders from the United States rose 7.5 per cent on a year before, a healthier pace compared with the previous month's 6.9 per cent rise.
Export orders from Europe rose 14.6 per cent, versus an annual contraction of 5.1 per cent in July, while those from Japan rose 2.2 per cent.