‘Nothing to Sing About’ as Taiwan Delivers Global-Trade Warning

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s December export orders plunged the most in almost three years in the latest warning sign for global trade.

Export orders fell 10.5 percent in December versus the same period a year ago, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, the biggest decline since April 2016. The U.S. was a rare bright spot, with orders gaining 5.6 percent, while orders from Europe were the worst hit, falling 28.1 percent.

Machinery products were the worst sector affected, falling 22.5 percent. Taiwan’s economy can act as a bellwether for global trade, given the nation’s pivotal role in smartphone manufacturing.

Monday’s numbers will likely confirm market fears that Taiwan’s economy will have “nothing to sing about” in the first quarter, Anita Hsu, an economist from Masterlink Securities Investment Advisory, said by phone.

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