September 20, 2018 / 9:08 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Taiwan Aug export orders show steady growth, those from US surge

* August orders +7.1 pct y/y, matching Reuters poll forecast

* Orders from U.S. +14.9 y/y vs. 8.4 pct in July

* China orders +7.3 pct y/y, down from July’s +12.5 pct

* Value of orders from Apple is ‘high’ - government official

* Ministry says expect Sept order growth of 5.0-7.1 pct y/y

TAIPEI, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s export orders grew at a steady clip in August, including a surge for those from the United States, reflecting continued solid demand for electronic gadgets despite concerns about global growth due to the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Orders for trade-reliant Taiwan, which rose 8.0 percent in July, increased 7.1 percent in August from a year earlier to $43.68 billion, Ministry of Economic Affairs data showed on Thursday.

In a Reuters poll, analysts had forecast 7.10 percent growth in August, compared to a government forecast of 2.5-5.0 percent.

Taiwan’s export orders are a leading indicator of demand for Asia’s hi-tech gadgets and other shipments, and typically lead actual exports by two to three months.

The island heavily relies on tech-related exports to fuel domestic growth. Exports are traditionally stronger in the second half of the year due to product launches before Christmas.

In August, export orders from the U.S. rose 14.9 percent from a year earlier, nearly double that of July. Orders from China expanded only 7.3 percent, from 12.5 percent in July.

“We don’t exclude the possibility that this is the effect of some orders switching from China to Taiwan,” Carl Liu, an analyst at KGI Securities said.

APPLE’S NEW PRODUCTS

Last week, Apple Inc. launched new smartphone models including the iPhone XS and XS Max, and introduced a lower-cost iPhone XR.

Taiwan companies are key suppliers for Apple.

“The price for Apple’s new smartphone orders is rather high, so the value of orders is high,” ministry official Lin Li-chen said.

Liu of KGI said that thanks to Apple’s new models, August export orders for information communication products and electronic products grew 10 percent and 9.6 percent respectively, “which is higher than the overall export orders’ year-on-year growth”.

The economics ministry said it expects Taiwan’s September export orders to grow in the range of 5.0-7.1 percent from a year earlier.

“The peak for export orders will be in October-November,” Lin predicted.

The latest round of tariffs imposed on imports from China announced this month, encompassed some tech components, including computer servers and networking gear that power “cloud” data centers.

One major Taiwan supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. saw August sales slightly decrease by 0.9 percent year on year. (Reporting by Liang-sa Loh and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Jess Macy Yu; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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