Taiwan's manufacturing sector recorded a year-on-year increase in sales for the 7th consecutive quarter in the second quarter of 2018 on the back of rising global demand, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Recent data from the MOEA showed that the manufacturing sector generated NT$6.61 trillion (US$215 billion) in sales in the April-June period, up 6.6 percent from a year earlier.
The MOEA said the old economy segment was the major beneficiary of rising product prices, partly because of higher international crude oil prices.
Chemical material and oil/coal suppliers saw an 18 percent and a 27.1 percent increase in revenue, respectively, from a year earlier to NT$572.1 billion and NT$469.2 billion in the second quarter, according to the data.
Revenue generated by base metal and machinery manufacturers rose 16.6 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to NT$356.6 billion and NT$308.8 billion in the April-June period, the data showed.
Sales posted by the local electronics component segment rose 7.0 percent from a year earlier to NT$1.33 trillion in reflection of rising demand for semiconductors but the growth was compromised by a drop in flat panel prices, the MOEA said.
The computer and optoelectronics segment, however, saw a 1.9 percent year-on-year decline in sales to NT$1.93 trillion in the second quarter due to slower demand for handheld devices and a delay in shipments of notebook computers, the MOEA added.
In the first half of the year, the manufacturing sector's sales totaled NT$12.88 trillion, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the MOEA.
The sector is expected to continue to show sales growth in the third quarter amid global economic growth, the ministry said, but it cautioned about the possible impact of the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China.
Meanwhile, the local manufacturing sector's investment in fixed assets such as production equipment and factory construction in the second quarter was NT$228.3 billion, down 13.6 percent from a year earlier, the MOEA data showed.
The electronics component business was the major source of fixed asset investment, with a total of NT$132.1 billion in the second quarter, although the figure was a 23.7 percent year-on-year drop, the MOEA said.
The decline was due to a relatively high comparison base over the same period of last year, when many electronics component makers bought expensive production equipment instead of just building factories, the ministry said.
The chemical material segment had the second-highest fixed asset investment of NT$17.3 billion in the second quarter, up 23.9 percent from a year earlier, largely on the back of new production equipment, according to the ministry. (By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang)