Taiwan's export orders unexpectedly expanded in August on strong demand for technology and new consumer electronics product launches even as its largest market China faced continued headwinds.
The government said the outlook was mixed though.
Export orders, a bellwether for global technology demand, grew 2% last month from a year earlier to $54.59 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday. Analysts had expected a drop of 2%.
August' s rise followed a 1.9% annual contraction in July.
Orders for telecommunications products rose 3.1% in August from a year ago due mostly to cellphone orders, the ministry said. Apple Inc, which many Taiwanese firms make components for, put its latest iPhones on sale this month.
Orders for electronic products jumped 15.4%, driven by semiconductor demand for high-end computing, automobiles and stockpiling for new consumer electronics, the ministry said.
A trend of working and studying from home that started during the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled a growth in orders for Taiwanese electronics for more than two years. More recently, a global semiconductor shortage has also filled Taiwanese chipmakers' order books.
The ministry said it expected this month's export orders to be between 7% and 9.4% lower than those of September 2021.
Looking ahead, it said that new consumer electronics products from "various international brands", demand for high-end computing, 5G and automotive electronics would help export orders remain stable.
But the ministry said high global inflation, increased geopolitical risks and the emergence of new COVID-19 strains were all uncertainties pressuring export order growth.
Taiwanese companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd are major suppliers to Apple, Qualcomm Inc and other global tech firms.
Taiwan's August orders from China fell 25.5% from a year earlier, compared with an annual fall of 22.6% in July. Month-on-month, orders from China edged down 0.1%.
Orders from the United States rose 7.5% on a year before, a healthier pace compared with the previous month's 6.9% rise.
Export orders from Europe rose 14.6%, versus an annual contraction of 5.1% in July, while those from Japan rose 2.2%. (Reporting by Emily Chan and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)