(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s exports recorded their highest increase in more than a year but still fell short of market expectations, tempering enthusiasm for a quick rebound in global demand for the trade-dependent economy.
Overseas shipments expanded 3.8% in November from a year ago, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry Friday. While that was the fastest pace of growth since July 2022, it still fell short of the median expectation of a 4.6% increase in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Month on month, exports contracted 1.7%.
Imports sank 14.8%, far more than economists’ expectations of a 2% decline, with the main headwind a steep drop in purchases of semiconductor manufacturing equipment from abroad. The resulting trade balance stood at $9.8 billion, the second-highest amount on record.
Improvements in tech exports were held back by “drag from non-tech exports, especially around chemicals, plastics, and mineral products exports,” said Bum Ki Son, an economist at Barclays Plc. “Softness in capital goods and consumer goods imports suggest domestic demand momentum is softening in the fourth quarter.”
Investors and analysts have been looking for signs that sluggish demand across Asia is reversing. China’s exports rose 0.5% in November from a year ago, though that data was skewed by the fact that it compared to a year earlier when the nation was still grappling with pandemic-related restrictions.
There have been other positive signs in the region: South Korea, another bellwether for global trade, saw its recovery in exports accelerate last month on the back of a rebound in semiconductor demand. Taiwan has been hoping for a pickup in chip exports as well, given the importance the sector holds for the economy.
--With assistance from James Mayger.
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