Summary of Trends in International Trade for January 2022


International oil prices rose: Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $86.55 per barrel  in January 2022, increase 16.68% from December 2021.As the slowdown effect of crude oil demand caused by the Omicron epidemic has eased, coupled with the intensification of geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and the suspicion of crude oil supply disruption has increased, pushing up the crude oil prices.

Fuel coal prices rose: The average price of fuel coal in January 2022 rose by 39.2% month-on-month. Indonesia announced restrictions on coal exports in January 2022 and Australia's coal shipments affected by Omicron variant virus and heavy rain, both triggering Asian countries to scramble winter coal supplies, which drove the prices soaring.

Exports in December 2021 reached US$40.72 billion, with an annual growth rate of 23.4%. This was mainly because of the stable recovery of the global economy, digital transformation and the demand for emerging technology applications has continued, as well as the high prices level in international raw material markets, which drove Taiwan’s export reached the second highest scale in a single month compared to past year. While imports totaled US$34.95 billion, for a year-on-year increase of 28.1%. Given the prices of international raw material are still at a high level, boosted the import scale of agricultural and industrial raw materials, which in turn drives the overall import performance.

Taiwan’s exports amounted to US$446.46 billion in 2021, reached the highest scale compared to the past year, with an annual growth rate of 29.4%. Due to the global economy has rebound after the epidemic, which driving the demand increase in all products, combined with the impact effect of the stay-at-home economy and emerging technology applications opportunities, Taiwan's electronic industry has taken her advantages and exports growth has increase significantly throughout the 2021. The import value in 2021 reached US$381.05 billion, for an increase of 33.2% over 2020. The imports increased due to the export-derived demand and continued high prices level in raw material, which drove the imports continued to expand with outstanding growth.

Observations on the trade performance of Taiwan and its major trading partners:

Taiwan's exports in December 2021 to our major trading partners (China, ASEAN, US, Japan, and EU) grew across the board. The increase in exports to Japan was the highest, at 35.8%, followed by exports to US, ASEAN, EU and China, by 29%, 23.8%, 22.3% and13.6%, respectively.

In terms of imports, Taiwan's imports from our major trading partners (China, ASEAN, US, Japan, and EU) rose in December, with the strongest growth from ASEAN and US, at 24.5%, followed by 21.2 % from China, 14.0% from Japan, 9.2% from EU.

Of the top 10 exports in December 2021, electrical machinery equipment and parts (HS85) grew by US$4.09 billion year-on-year for the most outstanding performance, followed by mechanical appliances and parts (HS84) with an annual increase of US$1.08 billion. In terms of the rate of change, mineral products (HS27) showed the strongest growth with an annual increase of 130.6%, followed by iron and steel (HS72) with an annual growth of 61.7%. As the international oil and raw material price continued to remain in high level, coupled with strong after-epidemic demand, the export performance was push up.

Of the top 10 imports in December 2021, mineral products (HS27) grew by 130.4% year-on-year for the highest growth rate, followed by iron and steel (HS72) with an annual increase of 77.3%. The international oil and raw material price at a high level, the commodities imports were boosted.