Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Taiwan’s exports experienced a more than 4 percent month-over-month decline in October, reversing a brief rebound seen in September, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Tuesday.
Data compiled by the MOF showed that October’s exports fell 4.5 percent from a year earlier to US$38.11 billion.
The latest figure pushed Taiwan’s outbound sales back to a year-over-year contraction pattern after a 3.4 percent increase in exports in September stopped a 12-month year-over-year falling streak.
In October, Taiwan’s imports fell 12.3 percent from a year earlier to US$32.34 billion after a 12.2 percent year-over-year decline in September, while a trade surplus rose 91.2 percent from a year earlier to US$5.77 billion, according to MOF data.
In the first 10 months of this year, Taiwan’s exports fell 12.9 percent from a year earlier to US$355.09 billion, and imports dropped 19.0 percent to US$295.44 billion with a trade surplus at US$59.66 billion, up 39.3 percent year-on-year, the MOF said.
Although artificial intelligence development created strong business opportunities, Taiwan’s export-oriented economy still felt the effects of continued weak global demand.
Exports generated by the electronics component industry, which serves as the backbone of Taiwan’s outbound sales, fell 7.4 percent from a year earlier to US$15.64 billion in October, the MOF said.
Semiconductor suppliers saw their exports falling 6.5 percent from a year earlier to US$14.61 billion, while the electronics component industry accounted for 41.0 percent of Taiwan’s total sales in October, the MOF added.
The optoelectronics and precision equipment industry also saw its exports falling 26.4 percent from a year earlier to US$929 million in October, according to the MOF.
Bucking the downturn, the information communications and video/audio industry posted US$9.002 billion in exports, soaring 37.6 percent from a year earlier, the MOF’s data showed.
Analysts said the increase largely reflected international brands’ efforts to launch new tech gadgets to attract buying, including the recently released iPhone 15 series.
The MOF statistics indicated exports in the major old economy industries suffered double-digit declines in October in the wake of continued global demand weakness.
Exports posted by the base metal, machinery, and chemical/rubber industries fell 18.4 percent, 18.3 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to US$2.26 billion, US$1.96 billion and US$1.63 billion, the MOF said.
In addition, the chemical, mineral and transportation tool industries suffered a year-on-year decline of 18.5 percent, 16.5 percent and 30.7 percent, respectively, to US$1.45 billion, US$1.29 billion, US$915 million in October, the MOF added.
China and Hong Kong remained the top buyer of Taiwan-made goods in October after purchasing US$14.18 billion worth of merchandise, down 3.6 percent from a year earlier.
The decrease, however, was less than the 8.8 percent seen in September, mainly due to a 25.1 percent year-on-year increase in exports of information communications and video/audio gadgets, the MOF said.
The United States came in second after buying US$7.19 billion worth of goods from Taiwan, a new record high and up 12.1 percent from a year earlier with exports in information communications and video/audio products soaring 51.5 percent from a year earlier, the MOF added .
ASEAN countries served as the third largest buyer of Taiwan’s goods after purchasing US$6.79 billion worth of merchandise, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier, ahead of Europe (US$3.16 billion, down 16.8 percent) and Japan (US$2.43 billion, down 22.7 percent ), according to the MOF.
In the first 10 months of this year, China and Hong Kong bought US$126.19 billion worth of Taiwan’s goods, the largest among the foreign buyers, down 20.2 percent from a year earlier, the MOF said.
Purchases by China and Hong Kong accounted for 35.5 percent of the total exports in the 10 month period, it added.
(By Chang Ai and Frances Huang)