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Taiwan’s exports fall for 11th straight month, but by less than expected

Taiwan’s exports fell for an 11th straight month in July, though by less than expected as weak demand for its high-tech products from the U.S. and China was countered by growing momentum in artificial intelligence applications.

July exports dropped 10.4% in value from a year earlier to $38.73 billion, the finance ministry said on Tuesday. That was better than a 23.4% fall in June – the worst slump in almost 14 years – and beat a Reuters poll forecasting a 20.1% contraction.

Taiwan’s export-reliant economy returned to growth in the second quarter, helped by resilient domestic consumption but exports remained weak, the government said last week.

The ministry said rising demand for high performance computing, artificial intelligence, data centres and automotive electronics would help boost export momentum in the second half of the year, when orders traditionally pick up ahead of the busy year-end shopping season.

For August, the ministry said it expected exports to contract between 5% and 10%, but that growth may resume from September, though more likely from November.

In July, total shipments of electronic components fell 7.9% from the year before to $15.61 billion, with semiconductor exports down 6.2%.

Taiwanese firms such as TSMC , the world’s largest contract chipmaker, are major suppliers to Apple Inc , Nvidia and other global tech giants, besides providing chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer goods.

China’s imports and exports fell much faster than expected in July, heightening pressure for the government to provide fresh stimulus to prop up demand.

At $13.42 billion in July, Taiwan’s exports to China were down 16.3% from a year earlier, after the prior month’s drop of 22.2%.

Exports to the United States fell 3.3% in July, after slipping an annual 25.2% in June.

Taiwan’s July imports, often seen as a leading indicator of re-exports of finished products, dropped 20.9% to $30.25 billion. That compared with economists’ forecasts of a 25.0% fall and a 29.9% decline in June. Reuters

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