February 18, 2009

Taiwan’s GDP fell 8.36 percent in quarter

Taiwan's gross domestic product plummeted in the fourth quarter of 2008 but Asia's sixth-largest economy held onto a 0.12 percent growth rate for the year.

In the final quarter, Taiwan's GDP dropped 8.36 percent, larger than drops reported by Japan, South Korea and Singapore, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

The decline could spill over to China, where Taiwan has relocated much of its manufacturing activity in recent years, the Financial Times said.

The official forecast is for a 3 percent contraction in 2009, a 5 percentage point turnaround from previous predictions of 2 percent growth.

Exports are predicted to fall 20 percent in 2009. Deflation -- an economy-stalling dynamic of falling prices -- is expected to take hold this year.

There is little hope of returning to positive economic growth until the fourth quarter of this year, said Tsai Hung-kun, controller and director at the national statistics agency.