‘SERIOUS CONCERN’: Orders are backing up in the information and communication technology sector due to component shortages, the Department of Statistics said
By Angelica Oung / Staff reporter
Taiwan’s export orders rose 34.5 percent year-on-year to US$55.29 billion last month, the 15th consecutive month of annual growth, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
While orders hit a record high for the month of May, they fell 4.8 percent month-on-month, the ministry said.
Cumulative orders for the first five months of the year totaled US$256.19 billion, up 41 percent year-on-year, it said.
Despite the domestic COVID-19 outbreak, Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling （黃于玲） said businesses remain upbeat about orders.
“While the outbreak has definitely affected daily life seriously and some production, out of 193 companies surveyed, only 12 said their ability to field orders has been seriously affected, and they tend to be the smaller companies,” Huang said.
As a result, the department is predicting export orders of US$52.4 billion to US$54 billion for this month, up 0.4 to 3.3 percent month-on-month and 28.1 to 31.7 percent year-on-year, she said.
A more serious concern for the information and communication technology （ICT） sector, which saw orders grow 4.2 percent year-on-year, but fall 12.2 percent month-on-month to US$13.57 billion last month, is the issue of component shortages.
“The demand for ICT products remains strong, but many laptop orders are now backed up due to the lack of components,” Huang said. “We will have to observe this situation to see if it goes on into July and August.”
Optical products such as monitors continued to benefit from the stay-at-home economy and higher prices for larger models, with orders growing 41 percent year-on-year last month, ministry data showed.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the percentage of goods made outside of Taiwan actually decreased to 49.3 percent, a 6.8 percent decline year-on-year, the ministry said.
That is because of the resurgence of the traditional sector, which tends to make more of its products in Taiwan rather than in factories overseas, it said.
Compared with last year’s COVID-19 depressed figures, metal orders were flat month-on-month, but grew 95.3 percent year-on-year to US$3.21 billion due to high steel prices and demand from US infrastructure projects, the ministry said.
Machinery orders were also essentially flat month-on-month, but rose 55.1 percent year-on-year, it said.
“Despite the uncertainties that still linger, as the world gets vaccinated and returns to business, that should translate into momentum for Taiwan’s export orders going forward,” Huang said.