10TH STRAIGHT MONTH: Taiwan export orders seen up

    Trucks wait to be loaded on with containers at a port in Keelung, Taiwan. (Reuters Photo)

    TAIPEI- Taiwan’s export orders likely rose for a 10th straight month, a Reuters poll showed, buoyed by continued demand for technology products during coronavirus-induced lockdowns that forced millions around the world to stay home.

    The median forecast from the poll of 13 economists was for export orders to rise 27 percent from a year-ago period. Forecasts ranged from a growth of 9.5 percent to as high as 36 percent.

    Taiwan usually sees strong electronics orders in the third and fourth quarters, ahead of the yearend holiday season when vendors launch smartphone models.

    Orders in November jumped 29.7 percent from a year earlier, and at the quickest pace in a decade, boosted by ongoing strong global demand for the island’s technology products.

    Taiwan’s export orders are a leading indicator of demand for Asia’s exports and for hi-tech gadgets, and typically lead actual exports by two to three months.

    Taiwan’s exports rose in December for the sixth consecutive month and at an unexpectedly strong pace, boosted by surging global demand for the island’s tech products amid the COVID-19 pandemic and new technologies like 5G.

    Exports jumped 12 percent from a year earlier to $33 billion in December, the highest monthly figure on record, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday.

    The ministry attributed the growth to continued robust demand for electronics, driven by new technology such as fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks and telecommuting, as millions of people are forced to work from home globally.

    Apple Inc, for whom Taiwanese firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd are major suppliers, launched in September its next-generation iPhone 12, with faster 5G connectivity.

    The ministry expected exports to “grow stably” in the first quarter thanks to continuous demand for the island’s tech products and as Chinese manufacturers rush to receive shipments ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February.

    Exports to China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, jumped an annual 20.5 percent to $14.72 billion, also a record high, boosted by strong shipments of electronics and telecommuting products.