Output of manufacturing sector down 8% in Q2

The production value of Taiwan's manufacturing sector for the second quarter of this year fell about 8 percent from a year earlier, marking the sixth consecutive quarter in which the sector recorded a year-on-year fall in output, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The drop in output suffered by the local manufacturing sector reflected weak demand at a time of a slowing global economy, market analysts said.

In the second quarter, the sector's output stood at NT$3.07 trillion (US$97.15 billion), down 8.05 percent from a year earlier, but up 8.64 percent from a quarter earlier, the MOEA cited data as saying.

The silver lining was that the year-on-year decline in the second quarter moderated from the previous four quarters, when output dropped 9.18 percent, 14.92 percent, 14.94 percent and 13.79 percent, respectively.

In the April-June period, the production value of the electronics component segment fell 6.61 percent from the previous year, but semiconductor firms bucked the downtrend, registering a year-on-year 2.54 percent increase in output on the back of an increase in demand for communications chips, the data shows.

The flat panel business continued to suffer escalating price competition, witnessing its production output for the second quarter falling 25.94 percent from a year earlier, the statistics indicate.

The computer and optoelectronics segment recorded a year-on-year 1.64 percent decline in output for the second quarter, as rising international competition offset the benefits resulting from the launch of new products, the MOEA said.

In reflection of falling oil and steel prices, the production value of the chemical material and base metal industries for the second quarter fell 14.66 percent and 12.25 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the MOEA added.

The ministry said that the machinery industry saw continued impact from slower global demand to record a 12.07 percent year-on-year decline in output in the second quarter, while the production value of the local auto industry fell 0.99 percent from the year before as the government's policy to provide consumers with car purchase subsidies helped car vendors cushion the effect of the economic slowdown.

The MOEA said that with flat panel prices on the rise and new handheld devices to be unveiled, output of the local manufacturing sector could return to a growth pattern in the second half of this year.

The ministry added that the growth trend enjoyed by the IC business is expected to continue to give an additional boost to the manufacturing sector.

(By Lin Meng-ju and Frances Huang)