Summary of Trends in International Trade for
According to forecast released on January 15, 2021 by IHS Markit (IHS), the global economy will grow by 4.4% in 2021, mainly as a result of another surge in COVID-19 cases in many places across the world hindering the pace of a global economic recovery. In December 2020, the domestic economy turned to signal yellow-red light, the Leading Indicators and the Simultaneous Indicators continued to climb, and the Purchasing Managers Index expanded for the sixth consecutive month. Manufacturing and export orders continued to grow, while a significant expansion of the home-bound economy and demand for emerging technology applications such as 5G and high-performance computing drove orders for technology products. At the same time, the manufacturing purchasing managers' outlook for the next six months saw a period of fastest expansion since the index's creation in July 2012. This indicates that even with a second wave of the pandemic, the pace will quicken for digital transformation and emerging technology applications, which will stimulate demand for equipment for the remote economy. However, as there are no signs of the pandemic subsiding, trade may continue to face a return of lockdown restrictions across the world. The unresolved US-China trade and technological dispute adds to these uncertainties, which all deserve continued and close observation. Our export orders in December 2020 reached US$60.55 billion, the largest single-month order volume so far, and an increase of 38.3% compared to the same period in 2019. This has mainly been the result of a continued increase in demand from the home-bound economy and emerging technology applications, as well as the delayed launch of smartphones by many international brands, leading to a strong increase in orders for technology-related products. For traditional products, positive growth in orders have reflected a gradual pick-up of market demand and rising product prices. In December 2020, Taiwan's foreign trade totaled US$60.24 billion, or an increase of 6.7%. Of this total, Taiwan's exports accounted for US$33 billion, or an increase of 12%. Meanwhile, imports accounted for US$27.24 billion, or an increase of 0.9%. Observations on the performance of Taiwan and its major trading partners:
Taiwan's exports in December 2020 to its major trading partners (mainland China, the ASEAN 10, the US, the EU, and Japan) grew across the board. The increase in trade with mainland China and the ASEAN 10 were most significant, at 17.1% and 16.3%, respectively. This has mainly been driven by emerging technology applications and the wave of new smartphone sales. These two strongest increases in trade were followed by exports to the EU, the US and Japan, by 8.8%, 7.5% and 3.3%, respectively. Taiwan's imports from its major trading partners (mainland China, Japan, the EU, the ASEAN 10 and the US) in December showed mixed performance. The most marked increase was from mainland Chinese imports, at 15.9%, followed by imports from Japan, which increased by 1.4%. Imports from the EU, however, fell most significantly by an annual 8.0%, which was followed by decreases in imports from the US and ASEAN 10 by 4.7% and 1.2%, respectively. In December 2020, exports of electrical machinery equipment and parts (HS85) continued to grow the most, by US$2.91 billion. This is also attributed to the continued boom in remote business opportunities.