November 7, 2016 / 8:37 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 2-Taiwan Oct exports jump at fastest pace in two years as holiday shopping nears

* October exports +9.4 pct y/y, poll expected +1.8 pct

* Shipments to major markets all up

* Economy stabilising, mild recovery seen - central bank (Adds comment by ministry, cenbank, analyst.)

By Liang-Sa Loh and J.R. Wu

TAIPEI, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports rose at their fastest rate in over two years in October, signalling strong year-end shopping demand for hi-tech goods remains on track, powered by Apple Inc's latest smartphones.

Shipments related to microchips and smartphone components rose by double-digit percentages, and a surge in imports bolstered by chip-making equipment pointed to more gains ahead, the Ministry of Finance said when it issued the data on Monday.

"It reflects a positive outlook for future export business," the ministry said in a statement.

October's exports rose 9.4 percent from a year earlier, better than expectations for a 1.8 percent climb and reversing a 1.8 percent fall in September when Typhoon Megi disrupted shipments.

It was the fastest single-month, on-year growth since August 2014.

All major markets showed solid demand.

Exports to China rose 14.9 percent from a year earlier, more than doubling September's pace, while exports to the United States, Europe and Japan all reversed their September on-year declines.

The better outlook was echoed by the central bank, which said the island's economy is stabilising and poised for a "mild" recovery, in a report issued to parliament that was seen by Reuters on Monday.

Apple late last month projected record revenue for its current, holiday-dominated quarter even as it said its bigger iPhone 7 Plus model was in short supply.

The guts of iPhone 7 models are made up of components churned out by Taiwan's tech supply chain, and the island's export trends are a key gauge of global demand for tech gadgets.

Imports surged 19.5 percent, beating an expected rise of 4.09 percent and compared with an increase of just 0.7 percent in September.

Woods Chen, an analyst with Yuanta Investment Consulting in Taipei, said that exports in the final two months of this year could grow around 6 percent each month, paving the way for exports to recover in 2017.

But Chen said the longer-term outlook for Taiwan's trade will depend on who wins the presidential election Tuesday in the U.S., with a victory by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as his base case scenario.

Additional reporting by Roger Tung; Editing by Kim Coghill

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