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Taiwan export orders fall short of growth forecast for August

iPhone 13 sales may buoy exports through to end of year

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iPhone 13.

iPhone 13. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's export orders did not meet their forecast levels in August after unexpectedly lackluster demand for new smartphones.

Taiwan's export orders jumped 17.6% from August 2020 to just US$53.5 billion (NT$1.49 trillion) new data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed on Friday (Sept. 24). Although the increase marks the 18th continuous month of export expansion for Taiwan, the pace of growth was slower than the median forecast from a Reuters poll, which anticipated growth of 20.7%.

Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲), head of the ministry's statistics department, said soft demand was due to an easing of the pandemic lockdowns. This meant that fewer people were working from home, leading to a drop-off in sales for electronic devices.

Taiwan’s export figures are often viewed by analysts as a bellwether for global demand in the hi-tech sector. Taiwan's manufacturers have been long-time component suppliers for the devices of big tech brands, like Apple.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 and a new iPad mini this month, expanded 5G connectivity and faster chips and sharper cameras, while not nudging up the phone's price.

The iPhone is expected to see an order boom in China, the world's largest smartphone market, according to the Global Times. Yet analysts told the outlet it may be hard to sustain strong sales into the first quarter of 2022.

Some analysts are so bullish about iPhone 13, they expect Apple to attain a $US3 trillion market capitalization by the end of the year. However, it is unknown whether consumers will take to the new model.

Turning toward the future, Taiwan’s economic affairs ministry warned COVID-19 cases may well pick up globally ahead of winter, and rumors of new virus variants will add uncertainty to the economic environment. However, more consumer electronic products will hit the market, which, along with soaring demand for e-vehicles, will bolster Taiwan's export orders.