Orders, an indicator of shipments in the next one to three months, rose 18 percent from a year earlier after a previously reported 8.5 percent gain in December, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in Taipei today. The median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was 17.6 percent.
A rebound in housing is helping broaden U.S. expansion, while China, the island’s biggest trading partner, is also recovering from a seven-quarter growth slowdown. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2330), the world’s largest contract manufacturer of chips, reported fourth-quarter profit rose by 32 percent as demand outstripped expectations.
“The near-term outlook of Taiwan’s export orders stays positive,” Raymond Yeung, a Hong Kong-based senior economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said before the data. Demand for electronics remains solid, he said, adding that “sales of petro-chemical products and other non-tech products” to China and Southeast Asia also continue to pick up.
Taiwan’s exports rose for a third month in January, while manufacturing activity expanded for a second month. The data for January and February may be distorted by the Chinese New Year holidays, which Asian nations celebrated in January in 2012 and in February this year. Factories from China to Vietnam typically shut and reduce production during this period.
Orders from China jumped 28.7 percent in January from a year earlier, while those from the U.S. gained 15.5 percent, today’s report showed. Electronics advanced 13.1 percent and information and communication products rose 22.2 percent.
Taiwan’s unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in January from a revised 4.21 percent in December, the statistics bureau said earlier today.
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