Taiwan Jan exports down for 5th month, China shipments slump
- Taiwan Jan exports -21.2% y/y vs -20% forecast in Reuters poll
- Exports to China -33.5% y/y (previous month -16.4%)
- Finance ministry expects Feb exports -7% to -11% y/y
- Ministry sees no significant recovery in short term
TAIPEI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports fell for a fifth straight month in January due to a deteriorating global economy and factory closures during the long Lunar New Year holiday, with the outlook remaining poor in the short term.
Exports dropped 21.2% by value last month from a year earlier to $31.51 billion, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.
That followed a 12.1% drop in December, and was slightly worse than Reuters poll forecast for a 20% contraction.
The ministry said seasonally weaker global demand after the year-end festive period and fewer working days, as the Lunar New Year fell in January this year, dragged on exports.
Taiwan's total shipments of electronics components in January fell 20.1% to $12.72 billion, the worst decline in 11 years, with semiconductor exports down 18.3% from a year earlier.
Firms such as TSMC (2330.TW), , the world's largest contract chipmaker, are major suppliers to Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and other global tech giants, as well as providers of chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer goods.
United Microelectronics Corp (2303.TW), a smaller competitor of TSMC, reported on Monday that January sales dropped 4.31% year-on-year.
At $10.44 billion in January, Taiwan's exports to China, the island's largest trading partner, plummeted 33.5% from a year earlier, after suffering a 16.4% drop in December, even as Beijing dismantled its zero-COVID regime.
Taiwan's finance ministry said continued tightening of monetary policy in major economies will weigh on overall demand, coupled with other risks such as the war in Ukraine and China-U.S. trade tensions.
"It will not be easy to recover significantly in the short term," it said, predicting that February exports could contract 7% to 11% from a year earlier, and drop around 10% in the first quarter.
January's exports to the United States were down 14.5%, compared with a 2.6% contraction recorded the previous month.
Taiwan's January imports, often seen as a leading indicator of re-exports of finished products, fell 16.6% to $29.17 billion. That compared with economists' expectations of a 18.2% fall and after an 11.4% decline in December.
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