Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Taiwan's machinery and equipment industry production output for 2013 stood at NT$600.3 billion (US$19.66 billion), down by 7 percent from the previous year, as a result of the slow global recovery, according to a report released Tuesday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Although the sector reported negative growth of between 8 percent and 10 percent during the first three quarters, a 6.5 percent annual growth rate in the output of general machinery has pushed up the figure to negative growth of 0.6 percent in the last three months, MOEA said. Benefiting from market demand for medical and semiconductor equipment, components in the medical sector grew 48 percent, while components for the semiconductor sector grew 41.4 percent in the last quarter, the report said. Because 60 percent of the products in the sector were sold to other countries, the export value represented the key driver for the industry's growth, the MOEA said. The value of machinery exports in 2013 accounted for US$19.8 billion, down by 1.6 percent from 2012. However, the industry showed annual export growth of 9 percent in the last three months, the first rise since the second quarter of 2012, it said.
According to the MOEA, the industry has started to recover from the global slowdown over the last two years, as its export rates to China and Hong Kong increased by 9.1 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of last year. Exports to the United States for the period were up by 6.8 percent, with a 19.4 percent rise for the ASEAN-6 countries and 10.8 percent for Europe. For the whole of 2013, China and Hong Kong accounted for a combined 31.8 percent of Taiwan's machinery export market, with ASEAN-6 accounting for 16.5 percent, the U.S. accounting for 15.9 percent and Europe representing 12.5 percent. (By Huang Chiao-wen and Maia Huang)