* Sept exports -1.8 pct y/y, poll expected +3.2 pct
* 'No need to worry' - finance ministry official
* Shipments to China +6.2 pct y/y, to US -5.2 pct
* Exports seen rising in Oct, aided by iPhone 7 demand -
* Central bank seen leaving rate unchanged in December
(Adds analyst comment, details)
By Liang-Sa Loh and Faith Hung
TAIPEI, Oct 7 Taiwan's exports in September
unexpectedly fell, but those of electronic components grew well
as the Christmas shopping season nears and there's optimism
shipments during October will increase.
The drop is seen as a little bump, as most analysts feel the
island's economy has stabilized and its central bank - which
earlier cut interest rates four times - will again hold them
steady at its next policy meeting in December.
Exports, which increased the two previous months, in
September contracted 1.8 percent from a year earlier, the
finance ministry said on Friday. A Reuters poll forecast a 3.2
The government didn't show concern over September's drop,
attributed in part to Typhoon Megi, which basically shut down
for two days last month.
"Despite disruption by the typhoon, electronics components
continued to show growth," ministry official Beatrice Tsai told
a briefing. "It is only temporary. There is no need to worry
about it too much."
The ministry said it expects trade performance to pick up
in the fourth quarter.
Taiwan is one of Asia's major exporters, especially of
high-tech goods, and its export trend is a key gauge of global
demand for technology gadgets.
Exports of electronic components, including semiconductors,
rose 16.8 percent in September from a year earlier, the
ministry said. The only other products showing growth were
information, communications and visual and audio ones, up 0.6
Apple Inc.'s launch of the iPhone 7 will benefit
Taiwan's component suppliers for a time, some analysts said.
"iPhone 7 made a big contribution to September export, and
that will continue into October," said Kevin Wang at Taishin
Securities Investment Advisory.
The island's export orders, a gauge of export shipments in
two-three months' time, in August got a boost from iPhone 7 and
other tech products. Orders expanded for the first time in 17
months, and by 8.3 percent compared with the near 1 percent
forecast in a Reuters poll.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), an
Apple supplier and the world's largest contract chip maker, said
on Friday its September sales jumped nearly 40 percent from a
Exports to China rose 6.2 percent year on year, but fell
5.2 percent to the United States, the ministry said. They are
Taiwan's top two destinations.
Shipments to Europe dropped 11 percent, and those to Japan
dipped 1.4 percent
Imports rose 0.7 percent, after slipping 0.8 percent in
August. The poll had forecast an 8.3 percent gain.
(Reporting by Faith Hung and Loh Liang-sa; Editing by Richard