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Taiwan Feb export orders miss forecast

Taiwan’s export orders in February shrank for a sixth straight month, though at a slower pace, dragged down by China and as global demand continued to be squeezed by inflation and interest rate hikes.

The island’s export orders, a bellwether for global technology demand, fell 18.3 per cent from a year earlier to $42.12 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday.

February’s number was worse than analysts’ expectations for a 15.0 per cent decline, and compared with January’s 19.3 per cent slump.

“Export orders in February missed expectations mainly because demand for consumer electronics was far less than expected … mainly because electronics and telecom products did not meet expectations,” the ministry said.

Orders for telecoms products dropped 20.3 per cent and electronic products fell 21.9 per cent from a year earlier, it said.

Global economic growth momentum could be constrained in the coming months as inflation and interest rate pressures persist, as well as no signs of let-up in the Russia-Ukraine war, the ministry said.

However, that would be offset by demand for emerging technologies such as high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, cloud data centres and automotive electronics, it added.

Taiwan’s export-driven economy has been hit by slowing demand from China and the United States, its two biggest markets.

Taiwan’s February orders from China were 35.5 per cent lower than a year earlier, versus a 45.9 per cent drop in January.

Most economists now expect Taiwan’s central bank to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at its quarterly rate-setting meeting on Thursday.

The ministry added that it expected export orders this month to fall by 20.2 per cent to 23.4 per cent from a year earlier.

Taiwanese firms, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, are major suppliers to Apple Inc, Qualcomm Inc and other global tech companies.

Taiwan’s orders from the United States in February fell 12.6 per cent from a year earlier, versus a 14.7 per cent drop in January.

Export orders from Europe were down 13.1 per cent, versus January’s gain of 18.3 per cent. However, orders from Japan rose 5.5 per cent year-on-year. CNA

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