The current account surplus in Taiwan increased by USD 10.37 billion to USD 27.33 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 from USD 16.96 billion in the same period of 2019. It was the second-largest current account surplus ever recorded, as the goods surplus expanded by USD 8.90 billion to USD 23.04 billion, mainly bolstered by orders for emerging technology applications and remote working-related products, as well as rising demand for traditional manufacturing goods.
Retail sales in Taiwan jumped 3.56 percent year-on-year in January of 2021, following a 1.69 percent increase in the previous month. It was the fastest growth in retail sales since August of 2020, mainly attributed to motor vehicles, motorcycles and parts (29.16 percent vs -6.60 percent in December) construction materials (13.43 percent vs 3.62 percent); e-commerce (28.14 percent vs 15.32 percent); and household appliances (7.91 percent vs 4.36 percent). On the other hand, sales of food, beverages and tobacco further declined (-3.46 percent vs -1.89 percent), and fell at a slower rate for fuels and related products (-9.34 percent vs -15.92 percent). On a monthly basis, retail trade was up 3.62 percent, after edging up 0.6 percent in December.
Industrial production in Taiwan jumped 18.81 percent year-on-year in January of 2021, following an upwardly revised 10.29 percent rise in the previous month. It was the 12th consecutive month of growth in industrial activity and the strongest since last February, mainly boosted by manufacturing (19.67 percent vs 10.80 percent in December) and mining & quarrying (17.68 percent vs 13.31 percent). Output also advanced faster for electricity & gas supply (8.36 percent vs 4.39 percent) and water supply (0.76 percent vs 0.68 percent).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Taiwan edged down marginally to 3.75 percent in January of 2021 from 3.76 in the previous month. It was the lowest jobless rate since February, as the number of unemployed persons fell by 2 thousand to 438 thousand and employment was little changed at 11.527 million. Also, the labor force participation rate was nearly flat at 59.14 percent.
Moody’s Investors Service revised on Wednesday 24 February 2021 Taiwan’s sovereign credit rating outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the debt grade at Aa3, citing as main driver behind the change Moody’s view that the country’s governance strength is stronger than previously assumed. Standard & Poor's credit rating for Taiwan stands at AA- with stable outlook. Fitch's credit rating for Taiwan was last reported at AA- with stable outlook.