TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s exports rose for a 17th straight month in November to a new high as its manufacturers gained from sustained demand for consumer electronics in the coming year-end shopping season and amid a global shortage of computer chips.
Exports last month were the highest monthly figure on record, rising 30.2% from a year earlier to $41.58 billion, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.
A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast a rise of 23.05% for November, compared with a 24.6% increase in October.
The ministry attributed the growth to strong demand for tech products in the festive season in which vendors traditionally launch new models such as smartphones.
The growth was also supported by robust demand for chips, a shortage of which has crippled car plants globally and is affecting consumer electronics.
Exports of telecommunication and electronics products rose 19.5% in November to reach $5.69 billion, with semiconductor exports growing 26.7% from a year earlier.
Firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) are major suppliers to Apple Inc and other global tech giants, as well as providers of chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer electronics.
The ministry warned of risks ahead, including uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as supply chain bottlenecks.
But it said the strong growth should continue, with the holiday period, traditionally a busy time for Taiwan’s tech firms, helping exports, along with a steady improvement in global economic fundamentals.
Ministry official Beatrice Tsai expected exports in the fourth quarter to hit a record high.
November exports to China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, grew an annual 18.9% to $17.14 billion, while exports to the United States jumped 39.2%.
Imports leapt 33.8%, above economists’ expectations for a 25.45% rise and an increase of 37.2% in October.
Taiwan could see December exports increase in the range of 21% to 25% from a year earlier, the ministry added.
China’s exports growth lost steam in November, pressured by a strong yuan, weakening demand and higher costs.
(Reporting by Jeanny Kao and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)