May 4, 2020 / 8:22 AM / a month ago

Taiwan April exports seen down 1% year-on-year as virus hits demand - Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: A man rides a scooter near containers at Keelung port, northern Taiwan, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s exports are expected to have dropped 1% in April compared with a year earlier, as the coronavirus outbreak hits global demand for the island’s electronics exports, according to a median forecast of 13 analysts polled by Reuters.

Taiwan is one of Asia’s major exporters, especially of technology goods, and its export trend is a key gauge of global demand for technology gadgets worldwide.

Forecasts ranged widely from a decline of 17.9% to growth of 6.4% amid uncertainties over the coronavirus outbreak that has disrupted global supply chains and hit growth outlook for the island’s tech manufacturers including the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) (2330.TW).

Taiwan’s exports slipped in March on impact from the coronavirus, with the government warning that second-quarter exports would still face “considerable pressure”.

The government said last month that Taiwan’s April exports were expected to range from a decline of 2.5% to a rise of 0.5% on the year.

Taiwan’s economic growth slowed to its weakest in nearly four years in the first quarter, as the pandemic crimped domestic consumption, though still-strong demand for electronics helped soften the impact on the export-reliant economy.

The government has warned of a slowdown in export orders that will especially hurt its tech manufacturers in the coming months, and is rolling out an economic stimulus package expected to be eventually worth T$1.05 trillion ($35 billion).

Inflation in April was seen at -0.55% from a year earlier, the poll found, down from -0.01% in March.

(This story corrects March CPI to -0.01% y/y from -0.25%)

Poll compiled by Carol Lee; Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by William Maclean

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