Due to a recovery in global demand for the island's high-tech goods, Taiwan's exports last month registered their strongest growth in nearly 34 years, the government said on Feb. 8.
January shipments totaled $21.75 billion (U.S. dollars), marking year-on-year growth of 75.8%, the best performance since August 1976, the finance ministry said.
Imports in January were $19.25 billion, up 114.7% from a year earlier, the best since September 1974 as the island's recovery from the global slump picks up speed.
The month's trade surplus fell 26.8% from a year earlier to $2.49 billion.
In January, exports of electronic goods rose 106% from a year earlier to $6.11 billion, while sales of optical products grew 233.1% to $1.75 billion.
Taiwan sold $9.54 billion worth of goods to China and Hong Kong last month, up 157.5% from a year earlier, while exports to the U.S. rose 13.7% from a year ago to $2.22 billion.
Economists said the trade-dependent island was likely to experience a rebound in exports in coming months, boosting the wider economy.
Citibank economist Cheng Cheng-mount said he expected Apple to need large amounts of Taiwan-made components for its new iPad, while consumer items such as smartphones would continue to attract foreign buyers. "I expect Taiwan will see its gross domestic product grow as much as 9% in the first quarter of this year."
Taiwan's economy shrank 1.29 % year-on-year in the third quarter. Fourth-quarter growth will be announced later this month.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010