* China Nov orders +12.8 pct y/y, U.S. +5.8 pct
* Orders from Europe +20.2 pct y/y; from Japan +22.8 pct
* C.bank expected to keep policy rate unchanged on Thursday
By Liang-Sa Loh
TAIPEI, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s export orders rose for a 16th straight month at a quicker pace than expected, a positive sign for technology manufacturers and the island’s economic prospects.
Strong global demand for tech gadgets has raised confidence Taiwan’s government can meet its upwardly revised 2017 GDP forecast of 2.58 percent, which will give the central bank room to keep rates unchanged at its review on Thursday.
November export orders rose 11.6 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Wednesday, compared with 8.1 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. Orders rose 9.2 percent in October and 6.9 percent in September.
The ministry also projected that annual export order growth in December would be between 17.6 percent and 20 percent, with order value for 2017 reaching $48.5 billion to $49.5 billion.
It added that January-November export orders this year grew 10.2 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, reaching $444.3 billion, a historical high for the period.
“Export order performance is generally in line with our forecast and we expect Apple’s iPhone X shipments will explode from December until the beginning of next year,” said Carl Liu, an analyst at KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co Ltd.
“Taiwan factories accepting orders can therefore expect to benefit,” he said, adding that momentum would be strong for December and possibly into the first quarter.
Liu expects the central bank to keep rates steady on Thursday because of mild inflation. “The earliest possibility for it to raise rates would come in the second half of next year.”
Taiwan’s solid order growth indicates continuing strength for Asian exporters who have benefitted from global demand for new smartphone models and memory chips. Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone X went on sale on Nov. 3.
Export orders from China rose 12.8 percent from a year earlier and were up 5.8 percent from the United States. Orders rose 20.2 percent from the European Union and 22.8 percent from Japan.
“Benefitting from the launch of international brand name mobile phone products as well as meeting the year-end peak season in Europe and the United States, the demand for notebook computers, tablet PCs, and gaming devices, broadly increased,” the ministry said.
Demand for information communication devices, which rose 11.4 percent year-on-year, was buoyed by the launch of new mobile products, the ministry added.
Additional reporting by Jeanny Kao and Emily Chan; Writing by Jess Macy Yu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong