Imports in Taiwan
Taiwan - Imports
Exports post fifth consecutive contraction in March; orders suggest weakness will persist in Q2
Merchandise exports fell 4.4% in annual terms in March, logging the fifth consecutive decline following February’s 8.8% dip. This further contraction reflects the cyclical factors currently weighing on the Taiwanese trade sector, chief among them being a downturn in the demand for tech products, the ongoing effects of the U.S.-China trade war and an economic slowdown in the mainland. Moreover, February export orders, which usually lead actual exports by two to three months, also declined 11.9% year-on-year (January: -6.0% yoy), the sharpest slump in nearly three years. This strongly suggests that Taiwan’s crucial export-oriented sector will remain feeble throughout the second quarter, boding ill for the broader economy in the period.
As in previous months, the March print was led by lower shipments of parts of electronic products, which account for just under a third of Taiwan’s total exports and contracted at a sharper pace than in February. On the flipside, exports of information, communication ad video products soared by nearly a quarter year-on-year, while exports of machinery, base metals, and plastics and rubber recorded softer contractions than in February. On a geographical basis, the contraction in exports to mainland China and Hong Kong—Taiwan’s largest export market—worsened and drove the tumble. On the other hand, exports to the ASEAN region fell at a softer clip, and growth of U.S.-bound shipments soared.
Meanwhile, imports rebounded notably in March, rising 6.6% yoy after a 19.7% contraction in February, which Ma Tieying, economist at DBS, interpreted as a positive sign for business momentum, noting “we were particularly encouraged by a strong rebound in Taiwan’s capital goods imports to 34.9% from 4.5%; the sector is a leading indicator for machinery investment”.
Growth of the 12-month trailing sum of exports fell from 4.1% in February to 2.4% in March, while growth of the 12-month trailing sum of imports fell from 7.8% in February to 7.5% in March. Lastly, the trade surplus fell to USD 3.1 billion in March from USD 6.0 billion in March 2018 (February: USD 4.9 billion), while the 12-month trailing trade surplus fell from USD 49.7 billion in February to USD 46.8 billion in March.
Turning to the outlook, it appears that “growth may bottom out in the months ahead”, according to Ma Tieying. Indeed, she argues, “the tech sector may have troughed in the short-term. Apple has, in a bid to regain market share, been pushing for iPhone price cuts in the Chinese market […] and there is anecdotal evidence that the orders for chips, cameras and other electronic components from Chinese tech companies may have picked up”. In addition, “China’s economic slowdown worries appear to have subsided from signs that the moderate stimulus package adopted since late 2018 has started to work”. This suggests cautious optimism for a trade-sector rebound in H2 2019, though this will partly hinge on progress in U.S.-China trade talks.
Our panelists forecast that exports will expand 2.2% in 2019 and imports will rise 1.9%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 51.4 billion. In 2020, our panel expects exports will expand 3.9%, while imports will rise 3.4%, bringing up the trade surplus to USD 55.0 billion.
Taiwan - Imports Data
|Imports (USD billion)||278||282||237||231||259|
5 years of economic forecasts for more than 30 economic indicators.
|Bond Yield||0.87||1.28 %||Jan 30|
|Exchange Rate||30.72||0.07 %||Jan 30|
|Stock Market||9,932||0.37 %||Jan 30|
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April 23, 2019
Industrial output declined 9.9% year-on-year in March, marking the worst fall in the production index since January 2012 and the fourth consecutive month of contraction in the sector.
April 9, 2019
Consumer prices fell 0.62% in March from the previous month, contrasting the 0.99% rise registered in February.
Taiwan: Exports post fifth consecutive contraction in March; orders suggest weakness will persist in Q2
April 8, 2019
Merchandise exports fell 4.4% in annual terms in March, logging the fifth consecutive decline following February’s 8.8% dip.
April 1, 2019
Operating conditions in the Taiwanese manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate in March, but at a much softer pace than in previous months.
March 25, 2019
Industrial output fell 1.8% year-on-year in February, worsening from the revised 1.1% contraction logged in January (previously reported: -1.9% year-on-year).