TAIPEI: Taiwan’s exports fell for the 11th straight month in December compared with a year earlier, as the slowdown in China and weak global demand continued to reduce the value of overseas shipments, government data showed Friday.
Exports in December dropped 13.9% to US$22.06 billion from a year earlier. The slide was larger than a median forecast for a 11.5% decline by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, but a smaller fall than November’s 16.9% drop.
Electronics, the largest export category at around 35% of the total, fell by 7.3%, below the overall pace of decline. However, the value of basic metal, machinery and chemical shipments all suffered falls of around 18%.
Exports to mainland China and Hong Kong, Taiwan’s largest export market, shed 16.4%, with the value of shipments to Southeast Asian countries plunging 18.3%.
On an annual basis, exports fell 10.6% to $280.48 billion in 2015, the largest percentage drop since 2009. Imports in December fell 15.6% to $17.89 billion, compared with a 12.1% forecast decline. The fall was also larger than November’s 13.7% drop.
The larger-than-expected fall in imports took some pressure off Taiwan’s trade balance, pushing up the surplus to $4.17 billion in December, the data showed, compared with the survey’s forecast of $4.15 billion and the previous month’s surplus of $2.75 billion.
Falls in Taiwan’s exports have pushed the economy into recession and prompted the government to repeatedly lower its growth estimates for last year. The government now expects an expansion of 1.06% in 2015, down from an already-halved forecast of 1.56% made in August.