Industrial production up for 8th straight month in December (update)

Taipei, Taiwan’s industrial production index rose for an eighth consecutive month in December, pushing the index for 2017 as a whole to a new high, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Tuesday.

The strong performance by Taiwan’s industrial sector reflected solid global demand at a time when the world economy is growing steadily, the MOEA said.

The industrial production index for December rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 113.42, lifting the index for 2017 to a new high of 109.63, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier.

The previous high was recorded in 2014, when the industrial production index was 106.80.

The sub-index for the manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than 90 percent of total industrial production, also rose 0.93 percent in December from a year earlier to 114.94, the 20th straight month in which it posted a year-on-year increase, the MOEA said.

The sub-index for the manufacturing sector in 2017 also hit a new high of 111.42, up 3.74 percent from a year earlier, smashing the previous record of 107.40 seen in 2016, the MOEA said.

The MOEA data shows that both the year-on-year increases in the industrial production index and the sub-index for the manufacturing sector were the highest levels since 2014, when industrial production rose 6.37 percent and the sub-index for the manufacturing sector gained 6.63 percent.

Wang Shu-chuan , deputy head of the MOEA’s statistics department, said the industrial production growth for December largely reflected solid demand for machinery and electronic components in the global market.

In December, production in the machinery sector rose 7.47 percent from a year earlier on the back of increased need for smart production equipment at a time of a growing global economy, Wang said.

The local electronic component industry posted 0.90 percent from a year earlier in December, in reflection of higher sales in semiconductors and printed circuit boards, while a fall in production of LED chips and 12-inch wafers compromised growth, she added.

The computer and optoelectronics sector enjoyed a 2.94 percent year-on-year growth in production in December on the back of strong demand for smartphone camera lenses, while production of the chemical material business recorded a 2.16 percent year-on-year increase due to higher international crude oil prices, the MOEA data shows.

The base metal industry continued to benefit from solid demand for steel products and expanded production capacity in select products such as stainless steel plate and hot-rolled steel plate, to push up the entire production by 2.94 percent year-on-year in December, the data indicates.

Bucking the upturn, the auto and auto part industry suffered a 2.09 percent decline from a year earlier in December as inventory adjustments promoted car makers and auto part suppliers to cut production, the MOEA said.

In addition, rising sales in imported cars also affected production of the local auto industry, the MOEA added.

Looking ahead, Wang said the first quarter is a traditional slow season for the manufacturing sector, but added that production in the sector for January is expected to grow more than 5 percent from a year earlier due to a relatively low comparison base over the same period of last year, in which the Lunar New Year holiday fell.

Wang added that a wider range of applications, such as in the Internet of Things, automotive electronics and high performance computing, are expected to help offset the slow season impact in the first quarter of this year.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel