Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/05/2014 -- BMI GDP Forecast For Taiwan Edged Up To 3.1% in 2014
The Taiwan economy put on a show of strength in the last quarter of 2013, lifting the full year GDP expansion rate to 2.2%, just above our 2.1% forecast. While we think the momentum is continuing into the first quarter of 2014, our forecast for this year as a whole has been edged up only fractionally to 3.1% (from 3.0% previously). This is because despite some short term positives - such as good manufacturing and export orders, particularly in the semi-conductor sector - we also see downside factors at work. These include an expected slowdown in China, a lull in the tech cycle, and corrective pressures in Taiwan's real estate market, which could lead to a downturn holding back private consumption and the construction sector. In addition, we believe that the global transition to mobile computing is going to pose some adaptation problems for Taiwan's struggling PC makers. Taking into account these factors, our forecast is for 3.1% GDP growth in 2014, rising to 4.1% in 2015. Trend growth over the medium term to 2018 will be 3.9% per annum.
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The limited recovery in GDP and trade in 2014 will help to pull activity levels in the country's main ports back into positive territory. This is in contrast to 2013 when we estimate that throughput in some ports (such as Taichung and Kaohsiung) actually contracted. Growth in 2014 will, however, remain very low in percentage terms. Broadly speaking, Kaohsiung - Taiwan's largest port - remains the most resilient, not least because it is attracting new investment. On the plus side, the policy of cross-straits integration is expected to continue as Taiwan's ports and shipping lines position themselves to work through a series of alliances and partnerships with mainland companies over the next few years.
Headline Industry Data
- 2014 Port of Kaohsiung tonnage throughput forecast to increase by 1.5% to 117.42mn tonnes, after a 4.2 estimated contraction in 2013. Over the medium-term to 2018 we project an annual average increase of 1.5%.
- Port of Kaohsiung container throughput forecast to grow 2.7% to 10.206mn TEUs in 2014, up from 1.6% growth in 2013; over the medium-term we project an annual average 3.4% increase.
- Port of Keelung will see marginal growth of tonnage, up by 0.6% to 69.791mn tonnes, after a standstill year in 2013. Container traffic will gain 1.2% to 1.632mn TEUs, after growth of 0.3% in 2013.
- 2014 total trade growth forecast to recover by 2.8% in real terms, after 1.8% growth in 2012.
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