Taiwan economy seen growing 3.61% in fourth quarter on boost from exports: Reuters poll

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s economy is expected to have expanded 3.61% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, a Reuters poll showed, as the export-dependent island continued to shake off the coronavirus jolt with a return of strong shipments and consumer confidence.

FILE PHOTO: A China Airlines Cargo plane taxis at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

The trade-dependent economy grew 3.92% in the third quarter from a year earlier, in a solid rebound from a 0.58% contraction in the second quarter.

Taiwan, a key hub in the global technology supply chain for tech giants such as Apple Inc, is expected to have posted slightly slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.61% on year in October-December, according to the poll of 14 economists.

Predications varied widely from growth of 2.1% to as high as 6.83%.

Exports in 2020 rose 4.9% to $345.28 billion, a record high by value for a single year.

In December, Taiwan’s central bank revised up its growth outlook for this year.

It raised its 2020 forecast for GDP growth to 2.58% from 1.6% predicted in September, and projected 2021 growth at 3.68%, compared with 3.28% seen at its last quarterly meeting.

Taiwan’s exports have benefited from the work-and-study from home trend around the world, which has boosted demand for laptops, tablets and other electronics made with components supplied by firms like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC).

Taiwan’s largest trading partner China registered faster-than-expected economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year, with GDP up 6.5% year-on-year.

Taiwan’s preliminary fourth-quarter figures will be released on Friday. Revised figures, including details and government forecasts, will be published about three weeks later.

Poll compiled by Carol Lee; Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Shri Navaratnam