Taiwan's export orders fell the most in more than two years in January as a weakening global economy hurt demand for its electronics products.
Orders, an indication of shipments in the next one to three months, slipped 8.6 per cent from a year earlier, after a 0.72 per cent decline in December, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in Taipei Monday.
The median of nine estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 4.8 per cent decrease.
Europe's sovereign-debt crisis has dented Asian exports and forced policy makers to either cut borrowing costs or leave them unchanged in recent meetings to support growth. Taiwan's economy contracted 0.25 per cent last quarter from the prior three months, shrinking for a second successive quarter and putting pressure on the central bank to extend an interest-rate pause.
"Production and exports tumbled over the quarter, particularly in the key electronics industry, because of weak global demand," Katrina Ell, a Sydney economist at Moody's Analytics Australia Pty Ltd, said before the data.
The pace of economic growth will be "modest" in the first half of the year, she said.
The value of export orders declined to $31.5 billion last month from $36.3 billion in December, yesterday's report showed.
Orders from China and Hong Kong combined fell 20.8 per cent in January from a year earlier, while demand from Japan slipped 16.5 per cent. Purchases from the US climbed 2.45 per cent