TAIPEI -- Taiwan's exports grew 9.7% to $27.79 billion in February from a year earlier, the eighth straight monthly increase despite the prolonged pandemic.
The semiconductor industry -- the pillar of Taiwan's economy, contributing to more than 30% of total exports -- was the main contributor to the growth in shipments, government data showed on Tuesday.
Exports of electronics components, including chips, grew more than 30% on the year, exceeding $10 billion for 12 consecutive months.
Strong demand for electronics components, PC-related products, and a recovery in rubber and plastics, machinery tools and metals also supported the increase.
The figure is strong considering Taiwan had around a week of national holidays last month, meaning five fewer working days than the previous February.
"Despite there being a Lunar New Year break in February, the demand for chips, displays and information communication technology products are still strong... the stay-at-home economy is still driving the overall demand," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
The ministry, however, added there still are uncertainties on the horizon because of the U.S.-China trade war, the rise of global protectionism, and the global vaccine rollout.
"Overall, we expect Taiwan's exports in the first and second quarter of 2021 will still be healthy and growing," the ministry said.
Taiwan is the world's largest base for chipmakers. The U.S., Japan, and the European Union have all asked Taiwan and its chip manufacturers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's biggest contract chipmaker, for help to increase supplies of automotive related chips to resolve a global supply crunch.
Key PC makers such as Acer have said the chip and component shortage could start to pose uncertainties for growth momentum in the computer industry.
Monthly sales of Innolux, a Foxconn display-making affiliate that supplies to Tesla, Samsung and Apple, surged 79% from a year ago, while leading Taiwanese display manufacturer AU Optronics' revenue in February rose about 45% on the year.
Leading notebook contract manufacturer and server builder Quanta Computer, which counts Apple, Google, HP, Dell, Asus as clients, enjoyed a nearly 63% increase in February revenue. The monthly revenue of ASE Technology Holding, the world's biggest chip packaging house, jumped more than 30%.
Taiwan's exports have been rising since last July after a slowdown stemming from lockdowns in the March-June period of 2020. The export-oriented island regained momentum and has been growing around a double-digit pace since October, mainly driven by the robust stay-at-home economic demand for Taiwan-made semiconductors used in smartphones, PCs, servers, 5G, and automobiles.
China, which sees Taiwan as a wayward province, halted imports of pineapples from the democratic island from March after claiming to have found pests in recent shipments. The move affected Taiwan more politically than economically, as agriculture accounted for less than 2%, or $4.91 billion, of overall exports last year.
The trade-reliant economy last month also revised up the economic growth forecast for 2021 to 4.64% from its previous estimate of 3.83%, which would mark the fastest growth for the country since 2014.