Taiwan March exports hit new record, Ukraine war clouds outlook
- Taiwan March exports +21.3% y/y vs +21% Reuters poll
- March imports +20.3% y/y vs +20.5% in poll
- Finance ministry expects April exports +13% to +17% y/y
- Outlook may be clouded by Ukraine war, supply chain issues
- TSMC reports March sales leapt 33.2% y/y
TAIPEI, April 8 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports rose for a 21st straight month in March to a new record in line with forecasts, boosted by continued strong tech demand, though the government warned of continued supply chain uncertainty and the effect of the war in Ukraine.
Exports last month jumped 21.3% from a year earlier to $43.5 billion, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday, the highest monthly figure on record.
A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast a 21% rise for the month, compared with a 34.8% leap in February.
The ministry attributed the March growth to strong demand for electronic components as well as semiconductors, and companies increasing orders to ensure supplies to customers.
Exports of electronics components rose 35.6% in March to $18.24 billion, also a monthly record, with semiconductor exports surging 38.2% from a year earlier.
Many companies expect global chip shortages to last at least for the rest of the year, which will continue to fill Taiwanese semiconductor firms' order books.
Firms such as TSMC (2330.TW), the world's largest contract chip-maker, 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 electronics.
Earlier on Friday, TSMC reported March sales of T$171.97 billion ($5.95 billion), up 33.2% from the same period last year.
The finance ministry said "enormous" demand for chips would continue to drive exports, but warned of uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, supply chain bottlenecks and inflation.
Ministry official Beatrice Tsai said the second quarter would likely continue to see double-digit growth, but that it was "hard to see" rapid growth continuing in the second half.
March exports to China, Taiwan's largest trading partner, grew an annual 13.4% to $18.03 billion, compared with a 39.9% on-year rise in February, while exports to the United States jumped 36.6%, slightly slower than the 40.3% rise recorded the previous month.
Imports leapt 20.3%, in line with economists' expectations of a 20.5% rise, after an increase of 35.3% in February.
Taiwan could see April exports increase in the range of 13% to 17% from a year earlier, the finance ministry said.
($1 = 28.8830 Taiwan dollars)
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