Manufacturing output falls for 7th consecutive quarter

Production value in the local manufacturing sector fell 1.61 percent in the third quarter of this year from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive quarterly fall year-on-year, data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) showed on Friday.

The fall in output partly reflected a decline in the production value of the chemical sector with certain petrochemical firms carrying out annual maintenance which dragged down production, while falling flat panel screen prices were also cited as a reason for the output drop, the MOEA said.

From July to September production value in the local manufacturing sector was NT$3.11 trillion (US$97.19 billion), down 1.61 percent from a year earlier, but up 1.58 percent from the previous quarter, according to the data.

Despite the seventh consecutive quarterly decline, the scale of the fall narrowed as the launch of new devices by international brands boosted production in the local semiconductor industry and the electronic components business, which offset the weakness of the chemical industry, the MOEA said.

The 1.61 percent year-on-year fall in the third quarter was also the smallest contraction since the first quarter of 2015, when output in the local manufacturing sector dropped 3.82 percent year-on-year.

The MOEA said that output in the chemical business fell 3.54 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier to NT$384.6 billion. However, the third quarter figure was still 12.35 percent higher than the previous quarter, reflecting stable international crude oil prices, the data showed.

Production value in the electronic components segment rose 2.76 percent from a year earlier and also gained 29.68 percent from the previous quarter to reach NT$924.4 billion after output in the semiconductor industry rose 21.87 percent year-on-year and gained 11.25 percent from the previous quarter to hit a quarterly high of NT$350.4 billion, the MOEA said.

However, output in the flat panel industry from July to September fell 9.84 percent from a year earlier to NT$207.6 billion as falling product prices undercut an increase in quarterly shipment volume, the MOEA said. Despite that, third quarter output rose 6.67 percent from the second quarter.

Third quarter output in the machinery business fell 6.82 percent to NT$149.9 billion due to low investment from machinery makers at a time when demand remained weak, the MOEA said.

The auto and auto parts industry posted NT$87.1 billion in production value in the third quarter, down 10.98 percent from a year earlier as the business went through a product transition period and faced increased competition from imported cars, the ministry said.

Looking ahead, the MOEA said manufacturing sector output could return to growth in the fourth quarter as the electronics sector continues an uptrend on the back of peak season demand.

In the first nine months of this year, output in the local manufacturing sector fell 7.89 percent year-on-year to about NT$9 trillion, the data showed.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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