* June exports +1.2 pct y/y vs +1.7 pct in Reuters poll
* Exports to U.S. +11.8 pct y/y; China +3.4 pct
* Government sees Q3 exports better than year-earlier period
By Faith Hung and Roger Tung
TAIPEI, July 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports in June slightly lagged forecasts, but shipments to the United States jumped in a positive sign that its tech firms are reaping the benefits of the season's new smartphone line-up.
Component makers for Apple Inc have started shipping parts for the new iPhone 6, and exports are expected to steadily improve into the third quarter.
"Taiwan companies will be shipping components in big volume in July - September for Apple's new products," said Anita Hsu, economist of Masterlink Securities, Taipei.
Exports in June rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier, slightly missing the average forecast of 1.7 percent in a Reuters poll. The figure compared with 1.4 percent in May.
Taiwan's export figures have been lackluster lately, with May data on exports and export orders both coming in well below expectations, though in line with neighboring countries on a softening of trade throughout the region.
But the governor of Taiwan's central bank said recently that Taiwan's export picture is in better shape this year than it was last year, despite a still-uncertain outlook for the global economy.
The trade-dependent economy is hopeful that accelerating momentum in the United States will help to offset slowing growth in its largest export market, China.
Shipments to the United States, Taiwan's second-largest export market, rose 11.8 percent from a year earlier, while those to China grew 3.4 percent.
Exports to Europe rose 2.8 percent while those to Japan expanded 4.8 percent.
With technology products making up a large share of Taiwan's overall exports, the fortunes of its key tech industry players are closely correlated with the greater trade picture.
Hsu of Masterlink Securities said 2014 exports could beat the government's forecast.
"We expect Taiwan's exports to hit a peak in August, with full-year exports to grow 5 percent year on year thanks to launches of new smartphones. That's better than the government's 5 percent growth forecast," she said.
The island's well-know tech brands are backing up that positive outlook. Smartphone vendor HTC Corp posted last week a quarterly profit slightly above forecasts, jumping 80 percent from the year-ago period
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, the world's No.1 contract electronics manufacturer, pleased investors when it said it should see at least 10 percent profit growth this year over 2013.
Additional reporting by Jeanny Kao; Editing by Jacqueline Wong