Taiwan’s exports rose for a 15th straight month in September, with the stronger-than-expected pace setting a new record, as the island’s manufacturers faced sustained demand amid a global shortage of computer chips and for consumer electronics.
Exports in September were the highest monthly figure on record, rising 29.2% from a year earlier to $39.65 billion, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 25% for September, compared with a 26.9% increase in August.
The ministry attributed the growth to robust demand and rising prices for chips, a shortage of which has crippled car plants globally and is affecting consumer electronics, and the gradual post-pandemic economic bounce back around the world.
Electronics exports hit a record high in September at $16.58 billion, with semiconductor exports growing 27.6% from a year earlier.
Firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) are major suppliers to Apple Inc and other global tech giants, as well as providers of chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer electronics.
The ministry warned of risks ahead, including uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect of power cuts in China on supply chains. But it said the outlook for the fourth quarter was good, with new consumer electronics hitting the market and the year-end holiday season, traditionally a busy time for Taiwan’s tech firms, helping exports.
September exports to China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, grew an annual 23.1% to $17.49 billion, while exports to the United States jumped 34% on year.
Imports leapt 40.4%, slightly under economists’ expectations for a 41.2% rise and an increase of 46.3% in August. Taiwan could see October exports increase in the range of 21% to 25% compared with a year earlier, the ministry added. China will release its trade data on Oct. 13.