Manufacturing production up for 4th straight month in August

Production of the local manufacturing sector grew for the fourth consecutive month in August on the back of the launch of Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone models and other high-tech devices, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The manufacturing sector's production, which accounted for more than 90 percent of Taiwan's industrial output, grew 8.35 percent from a year earlier, which helped the local industrial production index return to a growth pattern after a 0.36 percent year-on-year decline seen in July.

In August, the local industrial production index rose 7.74 percent from a year earlier to 112.02, and was also up 2.73 percent from a month earlier, the MOEA data shows.

The MOEA said that the solid growth in the manufacturing sector's production resulted from international brands' efforts to unveil new gadgets, in particular Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus Sept. 7.

Even before the introduction of the new iPhone models, Apple had started to place orders with its suppliers worldwide, and these orders have continued to stream in as fans of Apple rushed to pick up the new phones, market analysts said.

In Taiwan, many high-tech heavyweights, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (???), which rolled out the A10 processor for the use of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (??), an assembler of iPhones and iPads, and smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. (???), have been among the beneficiaries of the presence of the new iPhones, analysts added.

Wang Shu-chuan (???), deputy director of the MOEA's statistics department, said that production of the local electronics component segment for August rose 13.34 percent from a year earlier, which served as a major driver for the growth of the manufacturing sector.

In August, production among semiconductor makers rose 19.23 percent from a year earlier, on the back of the presence of the new iPhones and other smartphone models launched by Chinese brands, the MOEA said.

The MOEA said that flat panel firms recorded a 4.47 percent year-on-year increase, stopping an 18-month losing streak for the screen segment since budget phone makers increased their orders during the month, the MOEA said. Wang said that judging from solid demand for budget phones, flat panel makers are expected to continue to report production growth in September and even into the end of this year.

In reflection of stable international crude oil and steel prices, production of chemical materials and base metals for August grew 6.94 percent and 4.52 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the MOEA said.

Bucking the uptrend in the entire industrial sector, production of the machinery business for August fell 2.76 percent from a year earlier, but the decline moderated from a double-digit fall recorded in the previous 11 months, the MOEA said.

The ministry said that the improvement resulted from rising demand for automation equipment and smart machinery, along with a relatively low comparison base seen over the same period of last year.

Wang said that the peak season in the global high-tech industry is expected to continue to boost Taiwan's industrial production.

She said that the industrial production index could rise 5 percent from a year earlier, helping Taiwan report a year-on-year increase in industrial production for the third quarter of the year, and such a growth pattern is expected to continue into the end of this year.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel