TAIPEI: Taiwan's April export orders rose for the 14th month in a row and far exceeded expectations, boosted by sustained demand for telecommuting products during strict lockdowns worldwide to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong demand for smartphones made by the likes of Apple Inc also fuelled orders.
Taiwan's export orders, a bellwether of global technology demand, jumped 42.6per cent from a year earlier to US$54.93 billion in April, data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed on Thursday.
That was much better than the median forecast of a rise of 32.6per cent in a Reuters poll.
The ministry attributed the strong performance to robust demand for smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, as well as electronics parts for the automotive sector, which has been suffering from a global shortage of chips.
In March, export orders jumped 33.3per cent from a year earlier to US$53.66 billion.
Taiwan companies such as Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) are key suppliers to Apple.
Last month, Apple posted sales and profits ahead of Wall Street expectations, fuelled by 5G iPhone upgrades, but warned that a global chip shortage could dent iPads and Mac sales by several billion dollars.
The ministry described the outlook for technology orders as strong as the global economy gradually recovers from the pandemic.
A recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, however, was a major uncertainty that could potentially hit local production, the ministry said, urging citizens to help contain the virus to keep manufacturing running.
Around half of Taiwan's orders were manufactured on the island, the ministry said, adding that most of the manufacturers it surveyed expected no impact from the local outbreak.
The ministry expects export orders in May to rise between 40.1per cent and 44per cent from a year earlier.
U.S. orders in April jumped 43per cent from a year earlier, up from a rise of 33.2per cent in March, while orders from China were up 40.5per cent, versus a gain of 34.1per cent the previous month.
European orders rose 38per cent, while those from Japan wereup 36.4per cent.
(Reporting by Jeanny Kao and Yimou Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill)