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Taiwan's exports hit record high in 2014

[TAIPEI] Taiwan's exports rose 2.7 per cent year-on-year to a record high of US$313.84 billion in 2014, helped by booming demand for smartphones and other electronic products, the government said Friday.

Electronics exports rose 13.5 per cent last year compared to 2013 to hit US$99.99 billion, the finance ministry said, while shipments of metals and machinery from the export-reliant island also increased.

Exports to all overseas markets grew, including a 7.1 per cent rise in shipments to the United States to US$34.87 billion and a 2.9 per cent increase to China and Hong Kong to US$124.69 billion.

Much of the growth was driven by shipments of new mobile devices, including Apple's iPhone 6, which helped drive export orders higher for ten straight months.

Taiwan's Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, is the world's largest computer components manufacturer and assembles products for leading international brands including Apple's iPhones.

But the strong export growth weakened towards the end of the year, dipping 2.8 per cent in December for the first time since the start of the year due to shrinking demand in most overseas markets.

The monthly figure was dragged down by a nearly 40 per cent slump in exports of mining products to US$1.27 billion, which cancelled out a 9.7 per cent increase in electronic exports to US$8.43 billion.

Last year Taiwan's economic growth was buoyed by a steady recovery in developed countries as well as improved domestic consumption.

The economy grew a better-than-expected 3.78 per cent in third quarter while full-year growth for 2014 was estimated at 3.41 per cent, putting Taiwan on course to enjoy its best 12 months since 2011.