Taiwan’s exports rose in November for the fifth consecutive month and at a stronger-than-expected pace, boosted by surging global demand for the island’s electronic goods as people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and new phone launches.
Exports jumped 12.0% from a year earlier to $31.99 billion in November, the second highest on record for any month, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 8.4% for last month, compared with 11.2% in October.
The ministry attributed the growth to continued robust demand for electronics, driven by new technology such as fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks and telecommuting, as millions of people are forced to work from home globally.
In a likely reference to new smartphones released by vendors including Apple Inc’s September launch of its next-generation iPhone 12, with faster 5G connectivity, the ministry noted “hot sales” of new phone models.
Exports of communication products rose 18.5% from a year earlier to a record high for any month.
Exports to the United States grew an annual 17.7%, though shipments to Japan dropped 2.3% on year.
Tech powerhouse Taiwan could see December exports rise in the range of 7% to 9% on year, and reach a new record high for the full year, the ministry said.
Last month, Taiwan’s statistics agency raised its full-year export growth forecast to 3.84% compared with 2019, from a previous forecast of a 0.1% decline.
November imports jumped 10.0%, against economists’ expectations for a 0.3% rise and a drop of 1% in October.
Taiwan’s manufacturers are a key part of the global supply chain for tech giants such as Apple.
In China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, exports rose at the fastest pace in almost three years in November, as strong global demand for goods needed to ride out the pandemic landed the world’s second-largest economy a record trade surplus..
(Reporting by Liang-sa Loh and Yimou Lee; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)