Taiwan's electronics export orders rebounded in November, ending 12 consecutive months of annualized decline

Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0


Taiwan's export orders for electronics products surged by 3.5% year-on-year to reach $17.8 billion in November, driven by increased orders received by IC design houses and chip channel distributors. This marked a positive turn after 12 consecutive months of annualized negative growth, despite a 5.4% decrease from October, according to the Department of Statistics under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The MOEA reported that total export orders received by Taiwanese companies in November amounted to US$50.63 billion, down US$2.24 billion from the previous month. However, this figure indicated a 1.0% increase, or US$480 million over a year earlier, breaking the trend of 14 consecutive months of negative growth. Notably, 52.7% of these orders were intended for overseas production.

For the first 11 months of 2023, Taiwan's aggregate export orders reached US$517.23 billion, representing a decline of 15.8%, or US$97.38 billion, compared to the same period in 2022.

In November, there was a noticeable decline in orders for semiconductor foundry and printed circuit boards, signaling weak demand for terminal electronic products and ongoing efforts to reduce inventory in the supply chain. In contrast, the optical equipment sector saw higher TV panel prices compared to November 2022, and orders for optical lenses increased, indicating stable performance.

Machinery products faced challenges due to an unfavorable global economic outlook, weak terminal demand, and cautious attitudes of industry players toward equipment investment, leading to less-than-ideal order performance.

Breaking down the figures, orders for electronic products, including chip foundries, amounted to the highest value at US$17.8 billion. Information and communication technology (ICT) products, with AI servers as the core, reached US$16.2 billion, down 7.4% from the previous month but up 10.0% from a year earlier, ending nine consecutive months of negative growth on a yearly basis.

Other sectors included optical equipment orders valued at US$1.67 billion, edging down 0.2% on month but surging 9.8% on year. Machinery products amounted to US$1.59 billion in order value, reflecting an 8.0% increase from a month ago and a 12.5% decrease from a year earlier.

Basic metal products came to US$2.08 billion in order value, up 4.5% on month but down 0.3% on year. Orders for plastic and rubber products amounted to US$1.49 billion, decreasing 1.7% sequentially and 10.2% annually. Orders for chemical products totaled US$1.42 billion, a 6.2% increase from October but slipping 7.9% from a year earlier.

While there is an expectation of pre-Lunar New Year stocking demand supporting export order growth, the MOEA recognizes that unresolved global inflation issues, lingering high-interest rates, and uncertainties such as the US-China tech rivalry, the Russia-Ukraine war, and conflicts in the Middle East could potentially dampen the momentum of global trade growth.