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Taiwan's August exports jump on Huawei stockpiling, China demand

Government says September shipments seen expanding 1.5% to 4.5% on year

Taiwan says exports rose 8.3% from a year earlier to $31.17 billion in August, the highest monthly tally on record. (Source photos by Reuters) 

TAIPEI (Reuters) -- Taiwan's exports jumped in August, boosted by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd rushing to get in orders at Taiwanese firms before they have to comply with U.S. curbs that take effect this month.

Exports rose 8.3% from a year earlier to $31.17 billion in August, the finance ministry said on Monday, the highest monthly tally on record. A Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 1.6% for August. Exports in July edged up 0.4%, following four months of falls.

Beatrice Tsai, the ministry's statistics chief, said Huawei's stampede to stockpile goods before the U.S. restrictions kicked in had caused a flurry of activity for Taiwanese suppliers, to the tune of an estimated $1.5-2 billion.

Exports to China were the main driver of growth last month, she added.

The Trump administration in August expanded its curbs on Huawei and banned suppliers from selling chips made using U.S. technology to the Chinese firm without a special licence. That came on top of May restrictions, which fully take effect on Sept. 14.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), , the world's largest contract chipmaker, said in July it had stopped taking new orders from Huawei in May and does not plan to ship wafers after Sept. 15.

Tech powerhouse Taiwan, whose largest trading partner is China, could see September exports expand 1.5% to 4.5% on year, Tsai said, again helped by Huawei rushing to stock up.

While the coronavirus pandemic and U.S.-China trade tensions remained sources of uncertainty, the upcoming shopping season in the United States and Europe and work-from-home trend should keep export demand steady, the ministry added.

Taiwan's August imports rose for the first time since April, up 8.5% against economists' expectations for a 0.7% increase.

Taiwan's manufacturers are a key part of the global supply chain for tech giants such as Apple Inc.

Earlier on Monday, data showed China's exports rose for the third consecutive month in August, pointing to a more sustained economic recovery as lockdowns ease around the world.

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