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Taiwan Feb exports surge, Ukraine war may disrupt supply chains

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Cargo trucks work inside a container yard in Keelung, Taiwan, January 7, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s exports rose for a 20th straight month in February, and at a much higher rate than forecast, boosted by continued strong tech demand, though the central bank warned supply chains could be impacted if the war in Ukraine lasts a long time and becomes worse.

Exports last month rose 34.8% from a year earlier to $37.45 billion, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday, the best figure ever for a February.

A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast a rise of 15.5% for the month, compared with a 16.7% increase in January.

Exports rose 29.4% in 2021 to a record high, supported by robust global demand for the island’s tech products from semiconductors to telecommunications equipment.

The ministry attributed the February growth to strong demand for electronic components as well as chips, coupled with the easing of some material shortages and the effect of delayed shipments.

The first week of February was marked by the Lunar New Year holiday.

Exports of electronics components rose 46.5% in February to reach $15.73 billion, with semiconductor exports growing 48.9%from a year earlier.

Many companies expect global chip shortages to last at least for the rest of the year, which will continue to fill Taiwanese semiconductor firms’ order books.

Firms such as TSMC are major suppliers to Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other global tech giants, as well as providers of chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer electronics.

Taiwan’s central bank, in a report sent to lawmakers on Tuesday, warned that the war in Ukraine could indirectly affect Taiwan’s trade links, the longer it goes on and the worse it gets.

But the report said the chip supply chain has sufficient inventory and diverse supply sources, with no major short-term impact seen.

Still, the finance ministry said Taiwan’s first quarter exports could maintain double-digit growth, thanks to “huge” demand for chips.

February exports to China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner,grew an annual 39.9% to $15.76 billion, compared with a 5.7% on-year rise in January, while exports to the United States jumped 40.3%, faster than the 34.2% rise recorded the previous month.

Imports leapt 35.3%, outpacing economists’ expectations of a 19.65% rise, after an increase of 24.9% in January.

Taiwan could see March exports increase in the range of 15% to 20% from a year earlier, the finance ministry said.

Taiwan Feb exports surge, Ukraine war may disrupt supply chains

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