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Fueled by AI demand, Taiwan’s exports surge in March

Taiwan’s exports surged at the fastest pace in two years as shipments of computer hardware underpinning the global artificial-intelligence boom rocketed more than 400%.

Exports of computers and related hardware, which includes servers, hard drives and keyboards, jumped 464.7% to $8.7 billion in March compared to the same month last year, the Finance Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

That surge propelled Taiwan’s overall overseas shipments to $41.8 billion, a rise of 18.9% year on year, the fastest pace of growth since March 2022. Economists had forecast a 7.5% increase.

“The pace of growth may not always show an out-sized surprise, like March’s, but we believe Taiwan’s export demand will continue to get a meaningful boost from both AI-related investments and ongoing strength in US economy,” Bansi Madhavani, an economist at ANZ Banking Group, said in a message.

Taiwan’s exports were “on fire” in March, according to Societe Generale economist Michelle Lam, driven by the “usual suspect” of AI-related demand for information and communications equipment.

But not all tech-related products benefited from returning global tech demand. Semiconductors, which make up the largest single product category of exports, saw exports shrink 6.1% versus the same month last year.

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Meanwhile, imports unexpectedly grew, rising 7.1% as opposed to economist forecasts for a 1.6% contraction. Part of the surprise increase was due to purchases of aircraft, according to the ministry’s statement. Bloomberg

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