(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s exports plunged in June at the fastest pace since 2009, exacerbating concerns about the slump in global demand for electronics and its impact on the economy.
Overseas shipments plummeted 23.4% to $32.3 billion last month compared to a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said Friday. That was far worse than expectations of a 13.5% decline in a Bloomberg survey of economists, and was much more severe than the 14.1% fall recorded in May.
It also marked the fastest pace of declines since August 2009.
Imports dropped 29.9% from a year earlier, following a 21.7% tumble in May. The economy’s trade balance was nearly $6 billion.
Taiwan, which is export-dependent, has struggled with lackluster overseas appetite for technological goods — including for semiconductors, a key product.
“Taiwan’s first half exports dropped 18% year-on-year, the worst in almost 14 years, due to cooling of the global economy and a higher base,” Beatrice Tsai, the finance ministry’s chief statistician, said in a briefing.
The finance ministry cited weak demand for integrated circuits, inflation and interest-rate hikes that have meant a stagnating global economy, as well as a high base of comparison with last year.
Michelle Lam, economist at Societe Generale, said it was too early to determine whether exports had bottomed out since June is “not the peak season” for consumer electronics. “We still need further data to see if usual demand comes back around the third quarter.”
The demand problem seems to be improving elsewhere. South Korea in June registered its first trade surplus in 16 months, although exports still declined in the month.
--With assistance from Argin Chang, James Mayger and Cindy Wang.
(Updates with comments.)
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