* Q1 export orders +12.6 pct y/y, March +12.3 pct (f'cast
* Strong order growth continues from China, U.S.
* Orders for major electronics components grow by double
* Central bank expected to leave rates steady - analyst
(Adds analyst comments)
By Faith Hung and Liang-Sa Loh
TAIPEI, April 20 Taiwan's export orders rose for
the eighth straight month in March and at a faster pace than
expected as global demand remained strong for components of
Apple Inc's new iPhone and other tech gadgets.
The continued expansion bodes well for the island's
trade-driven economy and revenues for many companies in the
global electronics supply chain, though Asia's export outlook
remains clouded by worries about a rise in U.S. protectionism.
Taiwan's export orders in March rose 12.3 percent from a
year earlier, above the 10 percent forecast in a Reuters poll
but slowing from a 22 percent pace the prior month.
In the first quarter, orders rose 12.6 percent from the same
period last year, government data showed on Thursday.
"Although the first half of the year is the time when
outgoing and incoming models of high-end handheld devices
overlap, the Internet of things, automotive electronics, and
cloud computing and other emerging technologies accelerate the
development," the ministry of economic affairs said.
"Orders for traditional goods (also) remain solid,
benefiting from global economic recovery and raw materials
prices rebounding" from recent lows, it said.
Taiwan's orders are a leading indicator of actual shipments
two to three months ahead and a gauge of demand for Asia's
"The appreciation of the Taiwan dollar has taken a bite out
of Taiwan's economic recovery momentum in the first half of this
year, but it still looks good," said analyst Forest Chen of
Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting, Taipei.
"We expect the central bank to leave interest rates steady
in the second and third quarters because a rate hike would push
the Taiwan dollar higher."
Mainland China, South Korea and Japan have also reported
strong export data in recent months, with gains in electronics.
Orders for technology components, including those used in
electronic, information and telecommunications goods, all showed
double-digit growth, the ministry said.
"Consumer confidence has risen in recent months in much of
the developed world. This bodes well for household spending and
global growth prospects," Capital Economics said in a research
"BUSINESS REMAINS EXCEPTIONAL"
In particular, growing demand for semiconductors, camera
lenses and bigger display panels for smartphones, cars and home
devices has been fueling capital investment in new manufacturing
technology, propelling a rally over the past year in stock
prices of chipmakers and companies that make equipment for them.
Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co,
the world's largest contract chipmaker and a major supplier to
Apple, rose more than 7 percent at one point this year
before pulling back this month.
TSMC said on Thursday it had ordered machinery equipment
worth T$354 million ($11.64 million) from Genesis Technology Inc
U.S.-listed Shares of semiconductor equipment suppliers
surged on Wednesday after quarterly earnings reports from Lam
Research and ASML Holding suggested the
recent wave of spending by chipmakers was far from
"Business remains exceptional," Morgan Stanley analyst
Joseph Moore wrote following Lam Research's report. "We could
see upward revisions to spending throughout the year, and we
expect memory (chips) to remain strong."
Apple is widely expected to launch its iPhone 8 later this
year, leading a strong pipeline of new product launches.
Export orders from Taiwan's biggest customers around the
world remained generally solid in March, though the pace of
growth slowed from February.
Orders from China, Taiwan's top market, were up 19.9 percent
in March, slowing from 40.5 percent growth from the previous
From the United States, orders climbed 15.4 percent versus
21.1 percent growth in February.
Orders from Europe rose 3.8 percent from 12.9 percent in the
(Additional reporting by Jeanny Kao; Editing by Kim Coghill)