Taiwan's export growth accelerated in December as a declining currency and rising global demand for electronics fueled purchases of the island's personal computers and semiconductors.
Overseas sales rose 15.4 percent from a year earlier to US$17.2 billion after gaining 10.7 percent in November, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday in a statement. Exports were expected to increase 14 percent in December, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 12 economists.
Companies such as Acer Inc., the world's fourth-biggest maker of PCs, are benefiting from a falling currency and a rebound in demand for electronics. Rising exports, which account for about half of the island's US$305 billion economy, helped drive the fastest economic expansion in a year in the third quarter.
"Overseas demand for consumer electronic products remain strong," said Hunter Lee, an economist at Grand Cathay Securities Corp. "The decline in the New Taiwan dollar made it more profitable to make and ship products from home."
The New Taiwan dollar fell 3.6 percent against the U.S. dollar in the six months ended December 31, and 1.6 percent versus the euro. That's bolstered the competitiveness of manufacturers such as Acer and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
Taiwan's exports of computer chips and other electronic parts rose 34 percent to US$4.6 billion after increasing 19.5 percent in November. Exports of information technology and telecommunications products fell 16 percent to US$919 million.
"Taiwan may see stable growth in exports in 2006 on healthy demand for information technology-related products," Hsu Kuo- chung, statistics chief of the finance ministry, said at a press briefing in Taipei.
Acer on December 19 forecast net income will climb to NT$10 billion (US$311 million) this year from NT$229 million in 2005. Sales in November reached a monthly record.
Imports fell 10.9 percent to US$14.3 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$2.93 billion for the month, the ministry said.
For the full year, exports grew 8.8 percent to US$189.4 billion, today's report showed. That compares with a 21 percent gain in 2004. Imports gained 8.2 percent last year to US$181.6 billion after rising 32 percent in 2004.
Taiwan's 2005 trade surplus widened to US$7.8 billion from US$6.1 billion the previous year, according to today's report.