Taiwan exports in October exceeded expectations for growing demand for work at home

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Trucks waiting to be loaded with containers in a port in Keelung

By Roger Tung and Yimou Lee

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan's exports rose for the fourth straight year in October, as expected, fueled by growing home-based demand for the island's electronic goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exports rose 11.2% year over year to $ 32.2 billion in October, a record high for every month, the Treasury Department said on Monday and the strongest growth since February. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a moderate increase of 4.2% for October.

The ministry attributed the growth to continued strong demand for electronics, driven by new technologies such as fifth generation (5G) telecommunications networks and teleworking, as millions of people around the world are forced to work from home.

Healthy demand for electronics ahead of the year-end shopping season, which has traditionally been a busy time for Taiwan's exporters, has also fueled export growth, the ministry said.

Exports of telecommuting products such as wireless keyboards and headphones rose 20.8% year over year to a record high for every month, while electronic components grew 21.8% and semiconductors rose 22.2%.

The ministry said it had seen "a major expansion" in exports to all of Taiwan's major markets. Exports to the US and Japan both reached record highs, growing at 21.4% and 4.8%, respectively, annually.

According to the ministry, exports in November could increase in the range of 5% to 8% year over year.

However, the recovering pandemic with renewed lockdowns in some countries as well as the trade tensions between the US and China offered uncertainty for the future.

Taiwan's October imports fell 1%, contrary to economists' expectations for a 2.5% decline.

Taiwan's manufacturers are a vital part of the global supply chain for technology giants like Apple Inc (O :).

In China, Taiwan's largest trading partner, exports grew at the fastest pace in 19 months in October, while imports also rose, official data showed on Saturday.

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