Taiwan exports climbed to a record high in 2021, registering annual growth of almost 30 percent, driven by solid global demand for tech gadgets and old economy items, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Friday.
According to MOF data, the country's 2021 exports totaled US$446.45 billion, up 29.4 percent from a year earlier, while its imports also smashed records last year, rising by an annual 33.2 percent to US$381.17 billion.
Taiwan recorded a trade surplus of US$65.28 billion in 2021, up 10.7 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.
Commenting on the 2021 trade figures, MOF statistics chief Beatrice Tsai (???) told reporters Friday that it was the third straight year Taiwan had recorded higher export growth than its neighboring rivals South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Taiwan's 2021 export growth was the second highest in 34 years, while its import growth was the second highest in 33 years, Tsai said.
In 2021, exports of Taiwan-made electronics components rose 26.9 percent from a year earlier to US$172.01 billion, with semiconductor outbound sales growing 27.1 percent from a year earlier to US$155.50 billion.
Exports of Taiwan information and communications gadgets, as well as audio and video devices, also showed strong growth, climbing 24.8 percent from the previous year to US$61.35 billion, the MOF said.
Exports of base metal, plastics/rubber, machinery, and chemical items rose 44.5 percent, 40.5 percent, 27.0 percent, and 40.5 percent, respectively, to US$36.82 billion, US$29.87 billion, US$27.84 billion and US$23.41 billion in 2021, the data showed.
In 2021, China and Hong Kong were the largest buyers of Taiwan's goods, accounting for a total US$188.91 billion, up 24.8 percent from a year earlier, the MOF said.
The other major markets were the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc (US$70.25 billion, up 32 percent), the United States (US$65.70 billion, up 30.0 percent), Europe (US$38.49 billion, up 36.8 percent) and Japan (US$29.21 billion, up 24.8 percent).
Tsai said Taiwan's trade surplus with China and Hong Kong hit a new high of US$104.74 billion in 2021, while the trade surplus with the United States was also a record, reaching US$26.62 billion.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Taiwan's outbound sales increased 26 percent from a year earlier to US$122.42 billion, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth, while imports rose 32.9 percent from a year earlier to US$104.82 billion, with a trade surplus of US$17.6 billion, down 3.7 percent, the MOF said.
In December alone, Taiwan's exports rose 23.4 percent from a year earlier to US$40.72 billion, marking the 18 consecutive month of year-on-year growth and the third straight month that outbound sales topped the US$40 billion mark, the MOF added.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's imports totaled US$34.95 billion in December, up 28.1 percent from a year earlier, recording a 1.1 percent year-on-year increase in the trade surplus, which stood at US$5.77 billion.
Looking ahead, Tsai said that as global demand remains robust, Taiwan's export growth trend is expected to continue into January, with outbound sales ranging between US$39.1 billion and US$40.1 billion, which would be 14-17 percent growth from a year earlier.
She forecast that Taiwan's exports would breach US$40 billion in January for the fourth straight month.
While the shortage of raw materials for production has abated somewhat, uncertainty about the global economy still remains, due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, she said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel