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Taiwan's January-February export orders up 1.1% annually

Taiwan's January-February export orders up 1.1% annually

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Taiwan's export orders rose 1.1 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2013 to a record US$66.1 billion, according to government data released Wednesday. The increase was attributed partly to a 5.3 percent growth in orders for information and communication devices, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said. Orders for such devices in the first two months of the year totaled US$16.4 billion, thanks to stronger demand for smartphones and tablet computers, the ministry said. In the January-February period, orders for machinery showed a 5.6 percent growth, driven by bulk orders from China and the Philippines, the ministry said. The overall total of US$66.1 billion was the highest in Taiwan's recorded history for the first two months of the year. By month, however, export orders in February were down 14.5 percent annually to US$29 billion, the lowest in two years. The ministry attributed the plunge to the fact that there were fewer working days in the month because of the nine-day Chinese New Year holiday. Export orders from the United States, China and Hong Kong, Europe and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the first two months of the year increased, while orders from Japan dropped 10.7 percent. The biggest increase in orders for the two months was from the ASEAN bloc, registering a 7.8 percent annual growth, followed by Europe with 6 percent, the U.S. 2.8 percent, and China and Hong Kong 1 percent. In February, the U.S. placed US$7.1 billion worth of orders with Taiwan, the highest amount of any country for that month. China and Hong Kong were next with US$6.83 billion. (By Huang Chiao-wen and Scully Hsiao)