* April export orders +8.9 pct y/y vs f'cast 5.5 pct
* Orders from China +3.9 pct y/y; U.S. +5.7 pct
* Europe orders +6.9 pct; Japan orders +30 pct
* Factories, ministry don't expect lower May output after
By Miaojung Lin and Michael Gold
TAIPEI, May 20 Taiwan's April export orders grew
at their fastest pace since January 2013, bolstered by strong
demand for tech goods and brightening the outlook for Asia's
struggling export-reliant economies.
The island's semiconductor and electronic component
suppliers are expected to reap benefits from new releases of
smartphones and tablets in the third quarter, while subdued
demand from China will likely curb orders for capital goods.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday that export
orders in April grew 8.9 percent from a year earlier, beating a
median forecast of 5.5 percent in a Reuters poll.
The figure represents an improvement from the 5.9 percent
growth registered in March, which itself came in higher than
"Demand for mobile devices continues to rise, leading to
increased orders for components like chips," the ministry said
in a statement. Taiwan's export orders are a leading indicator
for future demand of tech products worldwide.
Orders from China, Taiwan's largest trading partner, rose
3.9 percent from a year earlier, while those from the United
States saw a 5.7 percent gain.
Orders from Europe climbed 6.9 percent from the year before,
while those from Japan leapt 30 percent.
"These numbers are a good sign of the competitiveness of the
Taiwanese industry coupled with a steadily recovering global
economy," said Kevin Wang, a Taipei-based economist at Taishin
Actual exports, which trail export orders by one to two
months, rose faster than expected in April, as shipments in the
tech sector hit a new single-month record.
But Taiwan's largest trading partners have painted a mixed
picture of economic strength recently, with the United States
reporting retail sales barely grew in April.
China's exports and imports notched modest growth last month
after a huge drop in March, but a senior commerce ministry
official said on Tuesday it could miss its target for trade
growth for a third consecutive year in 2014.
Meanwhile, recent turmoil at factories in Vietnam left many
wondering whether output from Taiwanese-owned firms would be
Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories and
rampaged through industrial zones in the south of the country in
an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South
China Sea claimed by Vietnam. The riots were largely targeted at
Taiwanese facilities mistaken by the protesters as being
The impact should be relatively muted, the ministry said, as
firms shift lost production to other regions.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd and China Steel
Corp, two Taiwanese firms that had announced temporary
work stoppages in Vietnam due to the riots, told Reuters their
output in May from the country would not be lower than usual.
Most large Vietnam manufacturing houses, including those
under Taiwanese management, have restarted operations or intend
to return to work as soon as possible.
Exports capture shipments from Taiwan but export orders
include those from Taiwanese factories operating abroad.
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)