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Barclays bank upbeat about Taiwan's exports
Central News Agency
2013-02-13 09:01 PM
Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan's exports are likely to post stronger growth in the coming months after capital equipment imports surged in January, according to British bank Barclays Plc. Capital equipment imports in January jumped 24 percent month-on-month, the fastest pace of growth since May 2011, showing an increased level of producer confidence, said Leong Wai-ho, a Singapore-based economist at Barclays, in a research note last week. That coincided with a surge in the global semiconductor equipment book-to-bill ratio, which improved to 0.92 in December from an October low of 0.75, indicating that chip makers are finally investing in new capacity, Leong said. The book-to-bill ratio is a widely used metric in the semiconductor equipment sector. A ratio of above 1 implies that more orders were received than filled, indicating strong demand, while a ratio below 1 implies weaker demand. January's exports also hinted at positive momentum for this year, rising 21.8 percent from a year earlier, higher than the 17.5 percent increase that Barclays had expected, Leong said. But January exports were still sluggish on a month-on-month basis, falling 2.8 percent after rising 6.4 percent in December, Barclays cautioned. The decline was the result of a continuing drag in the automobile supply chain, which saw shipments drop by 10 percent from the previous month due to ongoing production stoppages by Japanese automakers in China, the bank said. Information and communications technology (ICT) product shipments also fell 3.7 percent month-on-month, caused by a 2.8 percent decline in semiconductor shipments and a 5.1 percent drop in smartphone/PC shipments, according to Barclays. One bright spot in January, however, was the continuing recovery of electrical machinery shipments, which were up 1.8 percent in January and up 6.8 percent in December because of a pick-up in exports to China, the bank said. Taiwan's exports in January totaled US$25.67 billion, and imports totaled US$25.2 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$470 million, the Ministry of Finance reported on Feb. 7. (By Jeffrey Wu)
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