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Taiwan May exports contract for 16th month, slump not over yet

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Taiwan's exports fell less than expected in May, but continued weak demand for the island's signature technology goods offered little hope that global conditions are getting better.

[TAIPEI] Taiwan's exports fell less than expected in May, but continued weak demand for the island's signature technology goods offered little hope that global conditions are getting better.

The near double-digit per cent fall in the data, a gauge of world appetite for high-tech gadgets, comes amid easing expectations for an imminent USrate rise and reinforces the view Taiwan's central bank will likely cut rates for the fourth straight meeting this month as economic growth slows. "There is little chance exports in June can grow," said Yeh Maan-Tzwu, director of statistics department with the finance ministry, which issued the data on Tuesday. "But the decline will certainly narrow." Taiwan's exports in May fell 9.6 per cent from a year earlier, the 16th month of decline. It was better than the 11 per cent contraction forecast in a Reuters poll, but deepened from April's 6.5 per cent fall.

Tuesday's performance showed persistent weakness in key markets, as declines in shipments bound for China and the United States were both down, but the drops were less than April.

However, the fall in exports to Japan nearly doubled in May to 8.9 per cent, from April, while growth in exports to Europe slowed sharply to 2.1 per cent compared with just over 10 per cent previously.

REUTERS