Taiwan economic growth slows more than expected as exports get battered

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) - Taiwan's economic growth slowed more than analysts estimated as exports collapsed amid weaker global demand and rising competition from regional rivals.

Gross domestic product rose 0.64 per cent in the three months through June from a year earlier, according to preliminary data released by the statistics bureau on Friday. That compares with a pace of 3.37 per cent in the previous quarter, and a median estimate of 2.55 per cent in a Bloomberg survey of 20 analysts.

Taiwan's exports have fallen in five of six months this year as demand waned in the top two destinations of China and the US The island's manufacturers are also battling with mainland firms upgrading their supply chains, while local consumption has been hurt by a fall in property and share prices.

"Because of slowing growth in China, exports dropped by a lot this quarter," Ma Tieying, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. in Singapore, said before the report. "The retail sector also weakened as the drop in stocks and continued cooling of the property market damaged consumer confidence."

Taiwan's dollar gained 2.5 per cent in the first half of the year, the best performer among major Asian currencies, further hurting manufacturers competing with a weaker yen and Korean won. The benchmark Taiex Index has slipped about 7 per cent this year.