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UPDATE 1-Taiwan exports return to growth in Sept, beat forecast

* Exports up 10.4 pct in Sept, beating forecasts

* Ministry says sees steady recovery in Q4

* Jump due to base effect, caution over outlook: analyst

(Recasts, adds comment)

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

Exports jumped 10.4 percent, above a median forecast in aReuters poll for a 3.6 percent rise and also above the poll'shighest forecast of a rise of 9.7 percent. Imports rose 1.3percent against a forecast for a rise of 0.33 percent.

Year-end demand for electronics goods including computersand flat panels helped growth in September, offsetting weaknessin smartphones, while exports of refined oil products surged,

the finance ministry said on Monday.

It added that it saw a steady recovery in overseas sales inthe fourth quarter, making it one of the few bright spots inAsia as the region's export powerhouses suffer from the slowdownin the West and China.

"Seasonal demand seems not to have been affected, and afterthe launch of iPhone 5 and with improving confidence in Europe,we may see five months of strong demand coming until the lunarnew year," said Aidan Wang, economist at Yuanta Financial inTaipei.

"Taiwan could return to its normal momentum."

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.

Exports to China rose 6 percent in September, reversing froma fall of 5.7 percent in August, while those to the UnitedStates turned to 2.7 percent growth from an 8.4 percent declinein August.

Taiwan is one of the most open of Asia's exporters, with anexports-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.

The island cut its 2012 GDP forecast for the eighth time ina year in August to 1.66 percent

due in largepart to weak exports.OUTLOOK STILL UNCERTAIN

However the outlook for Taiwan still remains uncertain, withforward indicators pointing to tough times ahead.

Orders for Taiwan's exports, an indicator of demand two tothree months ahead, shrank for a sixth month in August

, while the latest PMI survey showed orders forTaiwan's exports fell anew in September.

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

"As it's mainly caused by a low base effect, the (TaiwanSeptember) figure doesn't indicate an economic recovery," saidForest Chen, economist at Ta Chong Bank in Taipei.

"We forecast exports in Q4 to grow 5.1 percent, versus afall of 4.3 percent in Q3, also due to a low base."

(Reporting by Jeanny Kao; writing by Jonathan Standing; Editingby Sanjeev Miglani)

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

Keywords: TAIWAN ECONOMY/EXPORTS