Taiwan’s foreign trade surged 10.9 percent to US$302.11 billion in the first six months of 2018 on the back of a robust global economy, strong demand for machinery and high prices for basic metals and crude oil, according to the Ministry of Finance July 9.
Accumulated exports rose 10.9 percent to US$163.83 billion, the highest on record for the period. This largely stemmed from a 9.1 percent increase in electronic components and parts, with integrated circuits the major contributor.
Basic metals, chemicals and machinery also fared well, up 16.5 percent, 21.9 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively. Optical products—including display panels—were the only item registering a decline among Taiwan’s major exports.
At the same time, imports surged 10.8 percent to US$138.28 billion. This was spurred by an 18.5 percent increase for minerals, with crude oil comprising 71.3 percent of the gain.
Other sectors posting double-digit growth are electronic components and parts, 17 percent; chemicals, 13.9 percent; and basic metals, 12.1 percent.
The leading destinations for Taiwan’s exports remained China, including Hong Kong, up 14.2 percent to a record US$67.13 billion. It was followed by Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states at US$29.03 billion, up 4.6 percent year on year.
Exports to Japan and the U.S. hit peak levels for the period. The former jumped 14.9 percent to US$11.27 billion, while the latter climbed 8.1 percent to US$18.78 billion.
At the same time, shipments to the 18 countries targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy rose 6.3 percent to US$33.96 billion.
The MOF said it forecasts stronger export numbers for Taiwan in the second half, citing an abundance of new business opportunities in potential-laden sectors like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and high-performance computation.
But the ministry cautioned this could be dampened by fallout from the U.S.-China trade war, exchange rate fluctuations and increasingly fierce international manufacturing competition. (SFC-E)
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