May 7, 2018 / 9:09 AM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Taiwan's April exports post double-digit growth, but pace may slow

(Adds details, comments)

* April exports +10.0 pct y/y vs Reuters poll forecast +11.4 pct

* Exports to U.S. +2.6 pct, to China +13.1 pct

* Analysts monitor impact of U.S.-China trade tensions on Taiwan

* Government says May exports expected to grow 8-10.5 pct y/y

By Roger Tung

TAIPEI, May 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s exports expanded at a double-digit pace in April, underpinned by continuing demand for the island’s technology exports even as concerns over global trade protectionism linger.

April exports rose 10.0 percent from a year earlier, finance ministry data showed on Monday, less than a Reuters poll of analysts that had forecast growth of 11.4 percent. In March, the island’s exports rose 16.7 percent to a record high in value terms.

“We estimate the strength of this year’s full-year exports and economic growth will not be as good as last year, but will still have normal growth,” Achilles Chan, an analyst with Taishin investment advisory company, told Reuters.

Chan said the market was conservative about global electronics’ demand partly because of changes in Apple Inc’s product line this year.

Escalating China-U.S. trade tensions will also pose a risk to the island’s key technology sector.

“In the second half of the year, we must watch whether the U.S.-China trade developments and international oil prices will affect the prosperity for Taiwan,” Chan added.

Taiwan’s factories are a key part of the global supply chain for tech giants such as Apple, and the economy is riding a robust export cycle on strong demand around the world for new smartphones and other gadgets.

EXPORTS TO STAY SOLID

The finance ministry said it expects exports in May to grow 8 to 10.5 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, an official told a news conference in Taipei.

The ministry said in a statement that April exports value reached $26.73 billion, up 10 percent from the same period last year due to the steady growth of the global economy, the widening demand for new and emerging technologies, along with the rise in raw material prices and other beneficial factors.

Annual exports to China in April grew 13.1 percent versus a 30.9 percent rise in March, while those to the United States rose 2.6 percent compared with 4.3 percent growth previously.

Exports to Europe and Japan were up 15.1 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

Imports in April rose 4.9 percent, easing from 10.4 percent growth in March. The island’s trade surplus came in at $4.15 billion, compared with $6.0 billion in March. (Additional reporting by Liang-sa Loh Writing by Jess Macy Yu Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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