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TRADE WARS
Taiwan's export orders from China rise
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Sept 20, 2012


Taiwan said Thursday export orders from China in August rose for the first time in five months, even as most of the trade-dependent island's other markets remained sluggish.

Orders from China, the island's leading export market, increased 2.5 percent year-on-year to $9.8 billion in the first increase since February, while China orders rose 8.1 percent from the month before, the economic ministry said.

"Demand for Taiwanese products, which are generally relatively expensive, was weak in the first half of this year when China's economic climate wasn't so good," said Sun Ming-te, an economist at Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, a Taipei think tank.

"But it's likely to recover as China's economy is expected to grow with the government's major investment plans and planned economic incentives," he said.

China's government has adopted a series of measures to boost the economy, speeding up investment plans and easing monetary policy.

Fears have been growing in recent months that China's economy, the world's second largest, is weakening significantly, partly as a result of the slowing global demand.

Figures earlier Thursday from British banking giant HSBC showed that China's manufacturing activity contracted for an 11th straight month in September.

The rise in Chinese orders was not enough to counterbalance declines in orders from Taiwan's other major markets such as Japan and the United States.

Overall, export orders fell 1.5 percent year-on-year to $36.15 billion, but it was up 0.6 percent from July, the ministry said.

Orders from all Taiwan's export markets for precision machines and electronics rose 5.9 percent and 0.4 percent year-on-year, respectively, lifted mainly by growing demand in China, it said.

So far this year, Taiwan's economy has been hit by shrinking demand in its major markets of China, the United States and Europe, particularly for its information technology and telecom goods.

Its economy shrank 0.18 percent year-on-year in the three months to June, the first contraction in nearly three years, due to weak exports.

The last time Taiwan saw a quarterly contraction was in the third quarter of 2009, when the economy shrank 1.41 percent from a year earlier.

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