TAIPEI: Taiwan's exports rose for a 10th straight month in April, and far exceeded expectations, as global demand for microchips and hi-tech gadgets remained strong in the work-from-home COVID-19 pandemic boom, and the outlook looks robust. Exports rose 38.7per cent from a year earlier to US$34.96 billion last month, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday, the second highest monthly figure on record. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 26.9per cent for April, compared with a 27.1per cent increase in March. The ministry attributed the growth to continued strong demand for tech products to support remote working and the "home economy" even in what is normally the low season. Firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) are major suppliers to Apple Inc and other global tech giants, as well as providers of key chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer electronics.
Ministry official Beatrice Tsai told reporters that second quarter exports could exceed US$100 billion. The ministry said it saw risks from surging COVID-19 cases in some countries like India, but that the world's economy was on the up and Taiwan's exports were likely to grow 20per cent or so in the first half from a year earlier.
April exports to China, Taiwan's largest trading partner, jumped an annual 32.2per cent to US$14.82 billion, while exports to the United States grew 35.2per cent on year. Imports leapt 26.4per cent, against economists' expectations for a 24per cent rise and a rapid increase of 27per cent in March. Taiwan could see May exports increase in the range of 25per cent to 31per cent year on year, the ministry added.
Taiwan's economy grew at its fastest pace in more than a decade in the first three months of 2021, fuelled by strong demand for the island's electronics exports.
China on Friday reported export growth unexpectedly accelerated in April as the brisk U.S. recovery and stalled factory production in other countries hit by coronavirus propped up demand for goods made in the world's second-largest economy.
(Reporting by Roger Tung and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill)