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INSTANT VIEW 2-Taiwan exports return to growth on year-end demand

TAIPEI, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports recorded theirfirst growth after six straight months of declines in September,buoyed by demand for new electronics products ahead of theyear-end shopping season, with the key U.S. and China marketsreturning to growth.

The positive turn was in line with the central bank's recentassessment of strong overseas sales in early September and aslight recovery overall in the second half, and that of thefinance ministry which had said that, in value terms, exportscould return to growth in September.

The island's economics ministry said last month industrialoutput, which is closely tied to exports, would be positiveagain in September.

Year-end demand for electronics goods including computersand flat panels helped growth in September, offsetting weaknessin smartphones, the finance ministry said on Monday. It addedthat it saw a steady recovery in exports in the fourth quarter.

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KEY POINTS:

Exports +10.4 pct y/y (forecast median +3.6 pct, range -4.2pct to +9.7 pct; prior month -4.2 pct)

Imports +1.3 pct y/y (forecast median +0.33 pct, prior month-7.6 pct)

Trade surplus $4.08 billion (forecast median surplus $2.345bln, prior month surplus $3.31 bln)

Exports to China +6 pct (prior month -5.7 pct)

Exports to the U.S. +2.7 pct (prior month -8.4 pct)

Exports to Europe -10.5 pct (prior month -17.4 pct)

COMMENTARY:

AIDAN WANG, ECONOMIST, YUANTA SECURITIES (TAIPEI)

"The September exports figure was better than we expected,reflecting the peak season in Q4. Seasonal demand seems not tohave been affected, and after the launch of iPhone 5 and withimproving confidence in Europe, we may see five months of strongdemand coming until the lunar new year, and Taiwan could returnto its normal momentum.

"With the new leadership in China, consumption and capitalexpenditure will continue and there may be a pickup in exportsto China from Q2 next year, leading to a bottoming out forTaiwan."

FOREST CHEN, ANALYST, TA CHONG BANK (TAIPEI)

"Export value reached $25 billion, better than expected, asshipments for electronics components for gadgets such as theiPhone have gone up. The growth was mainly due to seasonalityand a low base last year.

"But as it's mainly caused by a low base effect, the figuredoesn't indicate an economic recovery. We forecast exports in Q4to grow 5.1 pct, versus a fall of 4.3 pct in Q3, also due to alow base."

MARKET REACTION:

The data came out after the close of Taiwan's stock market.The main TAIEX share index

closed down 0.97 percent

. The Taiwan dollar

ended at T$29.402 to the U.S.dollar, slightly weaker on the day.

The markets rarely react to the data, though especially goodor bad figures can sometimes move share prices of top exporters.

LINKS:

-- For the full data, see the Taiwan finance ministry'swebsite at

.

-- For all Taiwan news and data, 3000 Xtra users can clickon

or.BACKGROUND:

-- Taiwan cut its 2012 GDP forecast for the eighth time in ayear in August to 1.66 percent

due to weakexports.

-- Taiwan is one of the most open of Asia's exporters, withan exports-to-gross domestic product ratio of 74 percent, andalmost half of Taiwan's exports are of electronics, making itextra-vulnerable to declines in external demand.

-- Fellow technology exporter South Korea reported a fall inexports in September, though not by as much as forecast.

(Taipei bureau)

((jonathan.standing@thomsonreuters.com)(+886 2 25004881)(Reuters Messaging:jonathan.standing.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

Keywords: TAIWAN ECONOMY/EXPORTS