Taipei--Taiwan is likely to report year-on-year export growth in April for the seventh consecutive month on the back of solid global demand for communications devices and other high-tech gadgets, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Saturday.
In March, the MOF reported that Taiwan's outbound sales rose 13.2 percent from a year earlier to US$25.71 billion, marking the sixth consecutive month in which exports have grown in the wake of higher shipments of electronics products.
Exports of electronics components, including semiconductors, which accounted for more than 30 percent of Taiwan's total outbound sales, rose 20 percent from a year earlier in March, with sales of semiconductors soaring 25 percent year-on-year, the MOF data shows.
The MOF said that momentum of sales growth in electronics products, in particular mobile devices, automotive electronics devices and items related to applications in the Internet of Things continued into April and will be seen for the rest of the second quarter. The ministry is scheduled to release the April export data on May 8.
Due to an improvement in Taiwan's export performance, several economic think tanks have raised their forecasts for Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2017 to more than 2 percent.
The Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) is the latest think tank to upgrade its GDP growth forecast for 2017 by 0.26 percentage points to 2.04 percent, compared with a 1.50 percent increase seen in 2016.
Yen Cheng-hui (???), an economist with the Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute, agreed with the MOF's estimate on Taiwan's exports and expressed an upbeat assessment.
Yuanta-Polaris has also raised its forecast for Taiwan's GDP growth for 2017 to 2.1 percent from 1.8 percent.
Yen said that the United States, the largest economy in the world, and one of the major buyers of Taiwanese products, is on the way to a recovery, and other economies have also seen economic momentum accelerating, which could pave the way for higher exports for Taiwan.
In addition, Apple, Inc. is expected to unveil the next-generation iPhones in the second half of this year, Yen said. The U.S. consumer giant could start to build up its component inventories soon to boost shipments of Taiwanese suppliers.
But Yen said that falling prices of raw materials, including international crude oil, in April could compromise Taiwan's exports in the month.
While optimism toward Taiwan's economic growth for 2017 has been on the rise, many Taiwanese exporters have expressed concern over the impact on the country's exports resulting from a stronger Taiwan dollar.
So far this year, the Taiwan dollar has appreciated more than 6 percent against the U.S. dollar to become the strongest currency in the region, which has made Taiwan goods more expensive, the exporters said.
Douglas Hsu (???), chairman of Far Eastern Group (????), is one them, saying that if the Taiwan dollar's appreciation continues, the country's global competitiveness will be hurt.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel