Taiwan’s exports declined for the first time in two years as demand from major market China waned, the government said on Friday.
Exports declined by 5.3% in September a year earlier, the first contraction since June 2020, to $37.53 billion, the Ministry of Finance said.
That was compared to the 2% rise recorded in August, and well below a forecast for a 1.5% increase in a Reuters poll.
Stagnant demand from China, monetary policy tightening, and high inflation were the key causes of falling exports, ministry official Beatrice Tsai said.
Exports had come from a high base last year, after demand from work-from-home equipment such as tablets was boosted by the Covid pandemic, she added.
China Exports Plummet
Exports to China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, fell an annual 13.3% to $15.17 billion in September, after a 9.9% contraction in August, in a sign of the continued economic problems there.
China will not release its trade data until October 14, after the end of the weeklong National Day holiday which began on a week ago.
However, Taiwan’s overall exports of electronics components in September rose 2.4% to $16.99.
Many companies expect global chip shortages to last at least for the rest of the year, which will continue to bolster Taiwanese semiconductor firms’ order books even as demand for some consumer electronics weakens.
Firms such as TSMC , the world’s largest contract chipmaker, are major suppliers to Apple and other global tech giants, as well as providers of chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer goods.
Earlier on Friday, TSMC reported September sales leapt 36% on-year, but slipped 4.5% compared to August, while on Thursday smaller competitor United Microelectronics Corp said sales last month rose 34.5% year-on-year.
The finance ministry warned of trouble ahead from monetary policy tightening in the Us and Europe with manufacturing in various countries slowing significantly, saying there were “deepening doubts” about the outlook.
These problems may “highly impede our export performance in the fourth quarter,” it added.
September exports to the United States were down 2.1%, compared with the 2.3% rise recorded the previous month.
Taiwan’s September imports fell 2.4% to $32.5 billion, worse than economists’ expectations of a 7% rise and after an expansion of 3.5% in August.
Taiwan could see October exports contract in a range of 3% to 6% from a year earlier, the Finance ministry said.
- Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon