Fosconn lettering on the side of a building David Berehulak, Getty Images

Taiwan Exports Slide Endures as China Demand Weakens

The continued woes of the Chinese economy ripple from the mainland, as Taiwan exports drop for the seventh straight month, most recently by 14.8% year-on-year.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese exports plummeted by 14.8% year-on-year in August to $23.93 billion, figures showed Monday, as the island feels the shockwaves of China’s slowing economy. The $4.1 billion drop is the seventh straight monthly fall for exports.

The electronics sector accounted for much of the decline, along with minerals, metals and chemical products, the finance ministry said in a statement.

“Demand from the major markets was feeble, inventory levels were high and oil and steel prices low,” it said, following a fall of 11.9% in July.

And with little chance of Chinese GDP growth returning to its previous level, analysts said Taiwan’s export woes seemed set to continue.   

“The sharper decline in exports was attributable to the mainland’s worse-than-expected economic performance. This was a new issue from the previous month,” Gordon Sun, the head of the Macroeconomic Forecasting Center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, told AFP. “As the (Taiwan) economy is likely to contract in the third quarter, and as it is not expected to fare well in the fourth quarter, it would be difficult to maintain GDP growth above the 1% level.” 

Shipments to its leading overseas markets – the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong – contracted by 16.6% in August from the previous year. Sales to Southeast Asia and Japan fell by 18.9 and 12.6%, respectively, the finance ministry said. 

Taiwan slashed its growth forecast for 2015 last month to a lower-than-expected 1.56%.

Traditionally an export-driven technology hub, Taiwan has benefited from Apple’s new iPhone 6, launched last year. A number of top Taiwanese firms such as Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co are reportedly among Apple’s suppliers. But China has been pushing to grow its own tech industry with the development of domestic smartphone brands and homegrown hardware, including chips.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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