《TAIPEI TIMES》 Export orders set a new March record
Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling speaks to reporters in Taipei on May 20 last year. Photo: Huang Pei-chun, Taipei Times
FIFTH STRAIGHT MONTH: Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling said that countries’ vaccination programs and expectations of recovery are lifting export orders
By Angelica Oung / Staff Reporter
Export orders last month totaled US$53.66 billion, up 26 percent monthly and 33.3 percent annually, the Ministry of Economic Affairs （MOEA） reported yesterday.
Export orders last month increased for a fifth straight month of double-digit percentage growth to set a record for the month of March, ministry data showed.
With vaccination programs in countries such as the US having a positive effect on economies and the expectation that Europe and other countries will catch up, global demand is accelerating and lifting Taiwan’s export orders, Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling （黃于玲） told a news conference in Taipei.
Months when export orders surpass US$50 billion — which happened for the first time in September last year — might become the “new normal,” Huang said.
“I’m not saying that it is going to happen every single month, but we can expect more and more months when export orders do break US$50 million,” she said.
The “red hot” information communications and technology （ICT） sector has not slowed down, with orders totaling US$14.02 billion, up 21 percent year-on-year and a new high for the month of March, while orders in the optical equipment sector reached US$2.64 billion, up 45.2 percent year-on-year — the 10th consecutive month of growth, the ministry said.
The growth is expected to continue this month, with orders forecast to increase by 29.8 to 33.7 percent annually, it added.
Huang attributed the high figures to local competitiveness in “high-end semiconductors” and other tech areas, saying that she expects orders in traditional industries to surge in the second half of this year, as more countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
One headwind for exporters could come in the form of a stronger local currency.
The New Taiwan dollar posted its biggest two-day advance of the year, appreciating 0.8 percent against the US dollar this week.
A report released last week by the US Department of the Treasury indicated that Washington might pressure Taipei to allow the currency to appreciate, calling the NT dollar “structurally undervalued.”
Huang said she is not worried about the effect of foreign-exchange factors on Taiwan’s exports.
“In the short term, the Korean won, the Chinese yuan and the euro have all gained more value versus the US dollar than the NT dollar,” Huang said. “In the long term, I have faith in the competitiveness of our tech sector.”
The government would continue to help small and medium-sized firms, as well as traditional industries, upgrade their competitiveness on the global market, she said.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg