Taiwan August exports rise unexpectedly due to strong smartphone demand

Taiwan’s exports surprisingly expanded in August, confounding expectations for a fall, as strong demand for smartphones countered the effects of the prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

Taiwan’s exports rose 2.6% from a year earlier to $29 billion in August, a record for the month by volume, data from the finance ministry showed on Monday.

The unexpected rebound in overall exports comes ahead of the year-end peak season when smartphone vendors launch new models including Apple, whose next line of iPhones will be unveiled on Tuesday.

The growth was boosted by demand for high-end smartphones, including those from both “Apple and non-Apple suppliers.”

The island’s exports could “gradually stabilize” in the coming months helped by the peak year-end season for gadgets and returning production from Taiwan manufacturers who moved parts of their supply chain back home amid the trade war.

Growth in August was helped by orders shifting to Taiwan from China as manufacturers tried to get around trade tariffs. Orders shifted to Taiwan not only offset the negative impact from the U.S.-China trade war, but it also helped with a mild economic growth for Taiwan.

Taiwan’s factories are a key part of the global supply chain for tech giants such as Apple and Huawei and its exports have suffered from both trade war disruptions and sluggish global demand for hi-tech gadgets such as smartphones.

Taiwan’s government in August raised its 2019 economic growth forecast to 2.46% as more factories move production back to the island from China as the Sino-U.S. trade war escalates