Exports down, PMI up in January
By ECCT staff writers
Taiwan's exports fell 7.6% year-on-year (yoy) in January 2020, breaking a two-month rising streak, according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The drop can be attributed to a reduced number of working days due to the long Lunar New Year holiday that fell in January this year. Imports for January were down 17.7% from a year earlier.
The MOF's Department of Statistics Director-General, Beatrice Tsai, told reporters that she remained upbeat about Taiwan's exports for 2020 despite the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China. She told reporters that Taiwan could feel a pinch in the first quarter of this year, although, after the effects of the coronavirus spread fade, exports are expected to be boosted by deferred orders.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) remained in expansionary territory (above 50) for the fourth consecutive month in January at 51.3. However, the latest survey, conducted by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) before 23 January, does not reflect the impact of a novel coronavirus outbreak. According to CIER, the disruption of supply chains and the drop in consumer activity is likely to dent the Taiwanese economy in the first half of the year, with non-manufacturing sectors unlikely to recover pent-up demand, unlike manufacturers, even after the virus is contained.