Thursday, December 12, 2013

ECFA Successes Just Keep Rolling In

Resolutely thinking about the future of Taiwan. Via Motao

One of the merriest, most penetrating minds I know collected a bunch of info on the recent trade stats and sent it around. Not pretty at all. For November, via the Taipei Times:
Exports to ASEAN countries dropped to US$4.37 billion last month, down 9.3 percent from a year earlier and marking the lowest level since July last year. The weakness in shipments to ASEAN offset a 6.5 percent increase in exports to China and Hong Kong, which reached US$10.59 billion last month, the report said.

Yeh said Taiwan’s full-year exports may still show a slight increase from last year, adding that she is confident that outbound shipments this month may at least stay flat from last month.

Cumulative exports in the first 11 months of the year stood at US$277.63 billion, an increase of just 0.9 percent from a year earlier, the report said.
Look at those great Year on Year figures -- a total gain of 0.9 percent. This is the ECFA boost? In recent years ASEAN has been a great market for Taiwan. Note that imports have dropped five straight months -- if you want to export, you need to import. Imports fell due to declining prices for ag and raw material inputs, as well as slowing exporter demand.

FocusTaiwan, drawing on Merrill Lynch analysis, observes that export orders are rising but actual export value isn't keeping pace. In 2000 the ratio of export order value to export value reported by Taiwan firms was .99 (the two were essentially identical). Now it is .68, meaning that the orders are accepted in Taiwan but made elsewhere. As my friend pointed out, the Taiwan stats office, the DGBAS, found that the overseas production ratio of export orders in October was .529.

Meanwhile all those Taiwan firms operating in China are helping Beijing ramp up trade figures 7.8%...

Isn't the move to China wonderful? As I am wont to say, arguing that moving more factories to China will help Taiwan grow is arguing that a double amputee will run faster if we cut off both his legs too.

But the best part is the last part, as my friend noted. Tawan trade stats for Jan-Nov 2013:

Look carefully. According to the Taiwan gov't, exports to China this year rose 1.5% -- lovin' that big ECFA boost! w00t! -- while according to the China gov't, Taiwan's exports to China jumped 18.8% (FocusTaiwan):
Trade between Taiwan and China was valued at US$180.71 billion in the first 11 months of this year, an increase of 18.8 percent from the same period of 2012, according to statistics released Monday by China's General Administration of Customs.
As my friend observed with laughter, the import and export figures are hugely different:

Taiwan gov't: Taiwan exports to China = $109 billion
China gov't: Taiwan exports to China = $143.5 billion

Taiwan gov't: Taiwan imports from China = $40.2 billion
China gov't: China exports to Taiwan = $37.18 billion

Surely there must be whole cadres of financial analysts out there who find understanding these numbers an amusing parlor game.

Exports account for 70% of GDP in Taiwan. As they decline, so will living standards.
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1 comment:

taipeir said...

I believe the figure of export orders of Taiwan now made in China is around 52% of all orders.

This is a number that the government in Taiwan is not keen to publicize too much.

But there are other reasons for this as well. So many factories have moved overseas and many of the remaining factories are run by older laoban, that it can be hard to find product range and good pricing in Taiwan now.

I've personally been told to look for ceramics in China many times, by people who work in the ceramics industry in Taiwan! They are not very interested in trying to work on new products or small orders to start.