Summary of Trends in International Trade for May 2021
According to the forecast released by IHS Markit (IHS) on May 18, 2021, the global economy will grow by 5.7% in 2021. As COVID-19 has stabilized in North America, Europe, and mainland China, this has stimulated the recovery of consumerism, which in turn is expected to accelerate global economic recovery.
In April 2021, Taiwan’s economy continued to show a red signal. Although the Leading Indicators fell slightly, the Coincident Indicators continued to climb. The Purchasing Managers Index rebounded, and manufacturing and export orders continued to increase due to the steady recovery of the global economy from rising terminal market demand along with the continued demand for emerging technology applications and ongoing remote business opportunities which continued to drive a strong demand for ICT and electronic products. Meanwhile, the outlook for manufacturing and purchasing managers over the next six months will see the fastest rate of expansion since the index’s creation in July 2012. However, COVID-19 pandemic is heating up domestically, which may restrict momentum in consumption and deserve close observation.
Taiwan’s export orders in April 2021 amounted to US$54.93 billion, for an increase of US$16.40 billion or 42.6% over the same period in 2020. This was mainly because global economic recovery spurred terminal market demand. The post-pandemic surge in demand for digitalization by businesses and consumers, coupled with the rise of international raw material markets, drove the overall increase in orders for major products.
In April 2021, the total trade value reached US$63.75 billion, for an increase of 32.8% over the same period last year. Of this, exports totaled US$34.97 billion, for a year-on-year increase of 38.7%, while imports totaled US$28.79 billion, for a year-on-year increase of 26.4%. As the global economy recovered due to the stabilization of the pandemic, as well as opportunities to apply emerging technologies, both exports and imports have grown significantly.
Observations on the trade performance of Taiwan and its major trading partners:
Taiwan's exports in April 2021 to its major trading partners (mainland China, the ASEAN 10, the US, the EU, and Japan) grew significantly. The increase in exports to the ASEAN 10 was the highest at 51.1%, followed by exports to the EU at 49.0%, the US at 35.2%, Japan at 28.4%, and mainland China at 27.1%.
Taiwan's imports from its major trading partners (mainland China, Japan, the EU, the ASEAN 10, and the US) in April 2021 showed the highest increase from the US at 33.7%, followed by imports from the ASEAN 10, Japan, mainland China, and the EU, which increased by 20.8%, 19.6% , 13.2% and 13.2%, respectively.
Of the top 10 exports in April 2021, electrical machinery equipment and parts (HS85) grew by US$4.33 billion year-on-year for the most outstanding performance. This was attributed to the continued boost in demand for high-tech products, such as IC, and memory and processing units.