TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s exports likely rose for a third straight month in September, up 6.6% from a year earlier as people bought electronic goods to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a median forecast of 12 analysts polled by Reuters.
Taiwan is one of Asia’s major exporters, especially of technology goods, and its export trends are a key gauge of demand for tech gadgets worldwide. Its largest trading partner is China.
Forecasts ranged widely between a growth of 3.8% and 21.6% in the midst of uncertainties over the coronavirus outbreak that has disrupted global supply chains and sent major economies into recession.
Taiwan’s exports have been helped by demand for laptops and tablets to support the work-from-home trend during the pandemic that has forced millions around the world to abandon their offices.
Exports in August jumped 8.3% from a year earlier to $31.17 billion, the highest monthly tally on record, boosted by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] rushing to get in orders at Taiwanese firms before they have to comply with U.S. curbs that took effect last month.
Imports were seen up 3%, after rising 8.5% in August.
Trade data will be released on Wednesday.
The poll also showed deflationary pressures were expected to ease somewhat. The consumer price index (CPI) was tipped to fall 0.3% from a year earlier, compared with a drop of 0.33% in August. Inflation data will be released on Thursday.
(Poll compiled by Carol Lee; Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
TAINAN, Taiwan — The United States and China are wrestling to lead the world in artificial intelligence, 5G wireless and other cutting-edge technologies. But the real wizardry that makes those advancements possible is being performed on a yam-shaped island that sits between them, geographically and politically.
On Taiwan’s southern rim, inside an arena-size facility stretched out among lush greenery and coconut palms, colossal machines are manipulating matter at unimaginably tiny scale. A powerful laser vaporizes droplets of molten tin, causing them to emit ultraviolet light. Mirrors focus the light into a beam, which draws features into a silicon wafer with the precision, as one researcher put it, “equivalent to shooting an arrow from Earth to hit an apple placed on the moon.”
The high-performance computer chips that emerge from this process go into the brains of the latest tech products from both sides of the Pacific. Or at least they did until last month, when the Trump administration effectively forced leading chip makers in Taiwan — and elsewhere — to stop taking orders from China’s proudest tech champion, the 5G giant Huawei.
The administration’s stranglehold on Huawei shows that for all of China’s economic progress, the United States still has final say over the technologies without which the modern world could not run. Chip making relies on American tools and know-how, which gives officials in Washington the power of life and death over semiconductor buyers and suppliers anywhere on the planet.
Next in the firing line is China’s most advanced chip producer, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation. The U.S. Department of Commerce told American companies last week that they needed permission to export to SMIC, saying its chips could be used by China’s military. If the administration blocks SMIC from using American software and equipment entirely, it will sharply set back