* May export orders fall 0.4 pct yr/yr
* Orders from China and U.S. grow but at slower pace
* Europe, Japan orders remain weak
By Faith Hung and Roger Tung
TAIPEI, June 20 Taiwan's May export orders
shrank for a fourth straight month, pointing to shaky global
demand for its pivotal tech exports that could hurt the island's
The soft data, which roughly met expectations, underscores a
further loss of momentum for trade-reliant Asian economies.
The government cut Taiwan's growth outlook last month as it
grappled with slowing demand from China, its largest export
market, and as a recovery in the United States remained patchy.
Ten economists in a Reuters poll estimated export orders
would fall 1.0 percent, with forecasts ranging between growth of
0.9 percent and a contraction of 2.5 percent. Orders in April
shrank 1.1 percent, 6.6 percent in March and 14.5 percent in
Orders from its two biggest markets continued to grow but at
a slower pace, with mainland China up 3.5 percent and the United
States up 2.9 percent. Those from Europe and Japan were down 6.8
percent and 16.5 percent, respectively.
"Figures are within expectations, but with no signs of
improvement. Taiwan's semiconductors, panel and communications
industries are doing well, but they're offset by the weakness in
traditional sectors such as steel and chemicals," said Anita
Hsu, analyst of Masterlink Securities.
"H2 will maintain at a flat level and the trend will be the
same. I expect 0-5 percent annual growth," she added.
Taiwan's export orders are a leading indicator of demand for
Asia's exports and for hi-tech gadgets, and typically lead
actual exports by two to three months. Electronics and
components makers are hoping for a lift from recovering U.S.
consumption but regional factory data has been spotty.
Activity in China's vast manufacturing sector weakened
further in June to a 9-month low as new orders faltered, a
preliminary survey of purchasing managers showed on Thursday.
Earlier this month, Taiwan's purchasing managers' index for
May also contracted for the first time in six months, pulled
down by sharp falls in output and new business.
(Additional reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)