Taipei, April 14 (CNA) Taiwan’s manufacturing sector posted year-on-year sales growth for a fifth consecutive quarter in the final quarter of 2017, bolstered by continuing improvement in the global economy, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Taiwanese manufacturers had combined sales of NT$7.53 trillion (US$258 billion) in the fourth quarter of last year, up 6.2 percent from a year earlier, MOEA data showed.
The increase during the October-December period came after electronics component and optoelectronics firms saw their sales hit a quarterly high of NT$2.94 trillion, up 9.4 percent year-on-year, as global electronics brands launched new devices, the MOEA said.
Many Taiwanese tech firms serve as contractors for these foreign brands, and they benefited from consumer replacements of older models during the period, the MOEA said.
Machinery producers in Taiwan saw their sales rise 13.8 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter to NT$281.5 billion as manufacturers worldwide sought to automate their production processes, the MOEA said.
In terms of capital formation, Taiwanese manufacturers invested NT$320.2 billion in production equipment, factory construction and transportation equipment in the fourth quarter, down 3.6 percent year-on-year because of a high base of comparison in 2016.
According to the MOEA, NT$286.8 billion was invested in equipment during the three-month period, accounting for 89.6 percent of the total. Another NT$30.7 billion, or 9.6 percent of the total, went into factory construction.
As for individual industries, the MOEA said the electronics/electronics component segment invested the most of any manufacturing sector at NT$205 billion, but that was down 9.2 percent from a year earlier, again because of a high comparison base.
For 2017 as a whole, Taiwan’s manufacturers saw sales rise from the previous year by 5 percent to NT$26.72 trillion, but capital formation was down 2 percent to NT$1.08 trillion, the MOEA said.
The MOEA expected the manufacturing sector to have seen another year-on-year increase in sales in the first quarter because of the continued expansion of production facilities, particularly in the semiconductor sector, in the previous quarter.