Production beats forecast for 25th month

Deputy Director General of the Statistics Department Huang Wei-jie attributed last month’s production to the demand for electronic components

  • By Lisa Wang / Staff Reporter

Industrial production in Taiwan last month rose 10% year-on-year, better than expected, as component shortages eased and semiconductor companies continued to expand capacity in response to demand. robust, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The industrial production index climbed last month for a 25 straight month to 117.49, the highest February reading on record after the second-longest bull cycle, the ministry said.

The growth momentum is expected to continue this month, with the manufacturing sector expected to post its best-ever performance in March, Statistics Department Deputy Director-General Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) said yesterday by phone.

Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE

“The first quarter is usually a slow season, but seasonal weakness has barely been felt by local manufacturers this year,” Huang said. “The first quarter is likely to be the strongest, after the third and fourth quarters of last year.”

Huang attributed stronger-than-expected manufacturing output last month to robust demand for electronic components.

“The electronic components segment performed better than expected. The segment contributed about 90% to manufacturing output,” Huang said.

Foundry companies, chip testing and packaging service providers, and substrate suppliers are ramping up capacity as quickly as possible to meet the high demand for chips used in high-performance computing, smartphones, vehicles and the Internet of Things, Huang said.

Last month, production of electronic components rose 17.14% year on year, the 27th consecutive month of growth, while production of semiconductors rose 20.1% and production of LCD panels and other components rose 13.16%, according to ministry data.

“Robust growth in the electronic components segment helped offset declines in some traditional sectors,” Huang said.

Production of petrochemicals fell 3.29% as demand for COVID-19 personal protective equipment fell as the number of infections stabilized.

Petrochemical suppliers have also closed some plants for regular maintenance, which has reduced production.

Production of computers and other electronics rose 9.55% as reduced component shortages helped boost output.

Demand for data centers, networking equipment and better solid-state drives boosted production, the ministry said.

However, the growth was slowed by a decrease in the production of smartphone camera lenses, he said.

Base metal output fell 1.94% as local steel mills closed some furnaces for maintenance and due to a higher base for comparison last year, the ministry said.

Machinery segment output increased by 11.44%, mainly due to the expansion of local semiconductor companies, 5G infrastructure projects and demand for automation equipment.

Production of auto vehicles and components fell 1.41 percent due to global port congestion and a global chip shortage, the ministry said.

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