* Oct export orders +13.4 pct vs forecast +6.56 pct
* China orders +3 pct y/y; U.S. +17.4 pct
* Europe orders +29.9 pct y/y; Japan -4.9 pct
* Taiwan’s orders seen reaching record level in 2014
By J.R. Wu and Jeanny Kao
TAIPEI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s export orders are set to reach new heights this year, after October orders doubled market expectations as global retailers rushed to meet year-end sales for smartphones.
The strong figures come on vibrant demand for Apple Inc’s newest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which include dozens of parts made by many Taiwanese technology manufacturers.
The strength in demand underpinning export orders should propel the value of the island’s orders to a record high of around $480 billion this year, the government said on Thursday.
Order growth for November and December should reach more than 10 percent each from a year earlier, Lin Lee-jen, statistics director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, told reporters at a news conference.
Taiwan’s export orders, seen as a leading indicator of demand for Asia’s exports and for hi-tech gadgets, typically lead actual exports by two to three months.
October’s 13.4 percent jump in export orders from a year earlier pushed order levels to a fresh monthly record of $44.91 billion, exceeding the 6.56 percent growth estimated in a Reuters poll.
Taiwan’s exports in October fell short of expectations, with the first full month of sales of Apple’s new iPhone marred by poor European shipments. But strong export orders don’t always translate into similar gains in exports for Taiwan because many local companies make their products in mainland China, which are then exported to markets such as the United States and Europe.
Lin said that the near 30 percent year-on-year growth in export orders from Europe showed that a large proportion of manufacturing is outsourced by Europeans.
She also said the focus of the orders from Europe was related to the sale of handheld devices, which may not reflect overall economic conditions in Europe.
Editing by Jacqueline Wong