Taiwan export orders grow at fastest pace in over two-and-a-half years

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at Keelung port, northern Taiwan, March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s export orders grew at their fastest pace in more than two-and-a-half years in August, surging on strong global demand for its telecommuting products, as the coronavirus pandemic forces millions of people around the world to work from home.

The island’s export orders, a bellwether of global technology demand, rose 13.6% in August from a year earlier to $45.5 billion, Ministry of Economic Affairs data showed on Monday, setting a historic high for the month.

The data exceeded an 8.2% rise projected in a Reuters poll and a 12.4% increase in July. It was the sixth consecutive month of gains and the strongest since January 2018.

The ministry said the blockbuster performance was helped by continued strong demand for products such as laptops and tablets, with orders for electronics including smartphones hitting a record high thanks to upcoming new product launches.

Taiwan usually sees strong electronics orders in the third and fourth quarter ahead of the year-end holiday season when vendors launch new smartphone models.

The ministry said it expects export orders to be between a fall of 0.1% and rise of 3.2% in September from a year earlier. It expects demand for electronics to remain strong, but warned of uncertainty over the pandemic and China-U.S. trade frictions.

Taiwan’s manufacturers are a key part of the global supply chain for tech giants such as Apple Inc AAPL.O.

Orders from the United States for Taiwan’s goods rose 19.5% in August from a year earlier, compared with 22.2% growth in July, while those from China were up 21% versus a 16.8% gain the previous month. European orders lifted 21.2%, while those from Japan dropped 3.8%.

Taiwan’s central bank last week revised up its growth outlook for the year amid signs the economy is bouncing back from the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Liang-sa Loh and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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