Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/21/2012 -- For the second quarter in a row, we are cutting back our GDP growth prediction for Taiwan in 2012. We now expect growth of only 1.6%, compared to 2.2% beforehand. Lower exports, a lull in investment, and signs of internal divisions and policy drift within the Taipei government have all played a part. A significant change on last quarter is that foreign trade prospects are decidedly gloomier. In our last report we expected total trade (imports + exports) to grow by 0.9% in 2012. In contrast, we are now predicting a contraction of 3.25%. The recovery cycle will eventually kick in, but we are saying it has in effect been pushed back to 2013, when we are expecting GDP growth of 4.2% (was 5.1%).
Slower growth this year will have a significant impact on port and shipping activity. We had already factored that in, so out port activity forecasts have not changed significantly, apart from small adjustments to take account of H112 data releases. Broadly speaking Kaohsiung, Taiwan's largest port, remains the most resilient. At Keelung, the country's second largest port, the downside will be more severe, with percentage falls of around 10% in both bulk tonnage and box traffic.
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On the plus side, the policy of cross-straits integration is expected to continue, most likely for another four years. Further liberalisation of relations between Taiwan and mainland China remains on the cards. In this context Taiwan's ports and shipping lines continue to position themselves to work through a series of alliances and partnerships with mainland companies over the next few years.
Headline Industry Data
- 2012 air freight tonnage is expected to contract by 3.5% to 1.104mn tonnes.
- 2012 rail freight is forecast to fall steeply by 2.0% to 14.210mn tonnes.
- Bucking the trend, 2012 road freight is forecast to grow by 1.7% to 648.846mn tonnes.
- 2012 Port of Kaohsiung tonnage throughput forecast to contract by 2.0% to 121.453mn tonnes, over the mid-term we project an annual average increase of 0.9%.
- Port of Keelung will see tonnage contracting by 9.75% to 68.065mn tonnes in 2012.
- 2012 total trade is forecast to fall by 3.25% in real terms, compared to 1.9% growth in the preceding year.
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