Taipei, Taiwan's exports were down from a year earlier for a fifth consecutive month in March, hurt by ongoing trade fiction between the United States and China and more sluggish global growth, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Monday.
Exports fell 4.4 percent in March from a year earlier to US$28.68 billion, while imports were up 6.6 percent from a year earlier to US$25.56 billion, according to MOF data.
The resulting trade surplus for the month was nearly cut in half to US$3.12 billion, down US$2.89 billion from a year earlier, the figures showed.
For the first quarter, exports were down 4.2 percent from a year earlier to US$76.36 billion, while imports slid 0.8 percent to US$67.41 billion.
As a result, a trade surplus of US$8.95 billion was recorded for the quarter, down US$2.8 billion from a year earlier, the MOF data showed.
The ministry said in a statement that it was not surprised by the decline in exports because of prevailing uncertainty in the global market caused by the U.S.China trade war and forecasts of weaker global growth.
Because of those factors, it has predicted negative export growth for the first half of the year, the MOF said.
By sector, exports of information, communication and audiovideo products grew by 23.1 percent to US$3.58 billion in March compared with the same month of last year, according to the data.
However, exports of electronic components fell 13.3 percent to US$9.14 billion, exports of base metals and articles of base metal declined 7.5 percent to US$2.60 billion; machinery exports slid 3.2 percent to US$2.35 billion; and exports of plastics and rubber items fell 3.8 percent to US$2.13 billion, the data showed.
China and Hong Kong remained the biggest buyers of Taiwanese goods in March, but exports to those markets fell 14.8 percent from a year earlier to US$11.44 billion. They were also down 11.2 percent in the first quarter to US$29.21 billion.
Exports to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations declined 9.9 percent to US$4.52 billion in March, and were down 12.5 percent in the first quarter to US$12.37 billion.
But exports to the United States rose 25.6 percent in March yearonyear to US$3.93 billion and were up 20.4 percent to US$10.71 billion in the first quarter.
Exports to Europe increased 0.9 percent to US$2.72 billion for the month but were down 1.0 percent for the first quarter to US$7.48 billion, while exports to Japan were up 4.1 percent in March to US$2.08 billion and also rose 4.9 percent in the first quarter to US$5.78 billion, the MOF data showed.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel