Machine tool makers upbeat on growth
Taiwan’s machinery exports this year are estimated to grow 10 percent from last year, when shipments rose 1.6 percent annually to US$19.76 million, backed by improving demand from the US, Europe and Southeast Asia, the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry said yesterday.
Based on the latest data released by the association, machinery exports rose 8.2 percent year-on-year to US$6.46 billion in the first four months of the year, as declines in shipments to China, Thailand and India were offset by increases in the US and Europe.
Outbound shipments to China, the sector’s largest export destination, dropped 1 percent year-on-year to US$1.64 billion in the first four months and accounted for 25.4 percent of overall exports, data showed.
Shipments to Thailand posted the largest decline, falling 15.6 percent to US$231.04 million from the previous year, while those to India dipped 11.8 percent to US$121.97 million, data showed.
“The decline of exports to Thailand was due to the political turmoil in the country,” association secretary-general Wang Cheng-ching (王正青) said. “In India, Taiwanese makers faced strong competition from their South Korean peers.”
However, exports to other Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, saw annual increases during the four-month period, with shipments to Vietnam rising 36.2 percent to US$237.08 million and those to the Philippines jumping 64 percent to US$140.29 million, data showed.
The latest data also showed that shipments to the US, the sector’s second-largest export destination, increased 12.6 percent year-on-year to US$1.11 billion in the first four months, while those to Germany, the sixth largest, and the Netherlands, the 11th largest, surged 25.5 percent to US$199.65 million and 30 percent to US$134.5 million during the same period.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s machine tool exports are forecast to increase 15 percent this year from last year, when exports slumped 16.2 percent to US$3.55 billion from 2012, according to the Taiwan Machine Tool and Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA).
Last quarter, machine tool exports rose 4.6 percent to US$813.89 million, from US$778.06 million the previous year.
“Unlike many other industries, local machine tool companies still choose Taiwan as their production base, and we have the largest machine tool cluster around the world in Greater Taichung,” TMBA chairman Hsu Hsiu-tsang (徐秀滄) said.
Last year, total output by Taiwanese machine tool companies reached US$5.43 billion, the sixth-largest in the world and accounting for 4.8 percent of the global output, Hsu said.
TMBA secretary-general Carl Huang (黃建中) said machine tool makers do not need cheap labor because personnel costs only account for a small part of total costs, making it viable for these companies to stay in Taiwan.