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UPDATE 1-Taiwan Nov exports hit record high aided by China, U.S. demand
December 8, 2017 / 8:22 AM / 5 days ago

UPDATE 1-Taiwan Nov exports hit record high aided by China, U.S. demand

* Nov exports rise 14.0 pct y/y vs +3.0 pct in Oct

* Exports to U.S. +14.6 pct y/y, to China +16.8 pct

* Nov exports reach historical high in value terms

TAIPEI, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s exports climbed to a record amount in November, beating expectations and shoring up confidence strong global demand for electronics will bolster the island’s growth prospects in 2018.

Taiwan’s factories are an integral part of the global supply-chain for technology giants such as Apple Inc, and the economy is riding a robust exports cycle on strong demand around the world for new smartphones and other gadgets.

Exports in November rose 14 percent from a year earlier, the finance ministry’s statistics department said on Friday, compared with 8.02 percent forecast in a Reuters poll and 3.0 percent growth in October.

China and the United States proved strong markets for the island’s exports. Shipments to China jumped 16.8 percent, compared with 4.9 percent last month, and those to the United States rose 14.6 percent, up from growth of 0.6 percent.

“Benefitting from a stable uplift of global prosperity, as well as the effect of goods shipments from international brand names successively launching new mobile device products ... (November exports) again reached a historical high,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan’s November exports totalled $28.88 billion, up from $27.54 billion in October.

The ministry said machinery shipments gained from foreign investments, and smart manufacturing and automated robots played a part in November’s export growth. Demand for electronic components were also solid, it added.

DELAYED PEAK SEASON

Strong exports bode well for Taiwan’s growth prospects in the final quarter, setting the economy on course to meet the government’s revised GDP forecast of 2.58 percent this year.

In November, Taiwan had raised its 2017 GDP forecast to 2.58 percent from 2.11 percent, as stronger-than-expected exports and private consumption helped drive economic momentum.

Strong global economic performance has given Taiwan reason to be optimistic that its own economic momentum can be sustained into 2018.

“Taiwan has maintained two consecutive years of recovery since coming out of the technical recession in 2015. We expect the ongoing cyclical recovery to be sustained for the third year in 2018, with GDP growth remaining steady at 2.5 percent,” Ma Tieying, a DBS economist, said in a note ahead of the data.

Analysts were also monitoring Apple’s iPhone X sales.

“November’s export performance was strong. The main reason is that it benefitted from Apple’s new iPhone X shipment momentum. We can expect December exports to still be strong,” said analyst Kevin Wang of Taishin investment advisory company.

But he warned that momentum may not sustain into 2018 as recent shipments of iPhone X had shown mixed signals.

“Presently, although export momentum is very good, domestic demand is quite weak. Moreover, inflation is not high, so we anticipate the central bank will not change interest rates at the year-end,” Wang added. (Reporting by Emily Chan, Additional reporting by Roger Tung; Writing by Jess Macy Yu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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