Taiwan's growth is downgraded as its economy contracts

The government in Taiwan wants to diversify the kinds of products Taiwan sells overseas, as Cindy Sui reports

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Taiwan's economy contracted in the three months to the end of June, as the global slowdown weighed on export-dependent countries.

The economy contracted 0.16% compared with the previous year, the statistics agency said. Analysts were expecting slight growth.

The agency also cut its forecast for full year growth to 2.08% down from 3.03%.

Asian countries are reeling from a drop in demand from a key market, Europe.

China, another major trade partner for Taiwan, especially for many of its high-tech goods, has also seen its own economy slow in recent months.

"Given how weak Western markets remain, Beijing's loosening must start to lift mainland demand soon if Taiwan is to achieve a meaningful recovery in second half of 2012," said Donna Kwok from HSBC.

The government in Beijing has started taking steps to spur lending by cutting key interest rates and fast-tracking investment projects.

Export slump

Taiwan's statistics office also cut its forecast for export growth to 0.07% down from 2.69%.

Keelung port in Taiwan Taiwan has drastically cut its forecast for exports

It cited a drop in exports of communications equipment, optronics and chemicals.

The bleak picture externally was compounded by a slowdown in domestic demand. However analysts said the worst could be over.

"The whole second quarter was weighed by Euro debt crisis, especially fears over the Greek election, and the whole world was in panic," said Aidan Wang from Yuanta Securities in Taipei.

"As the worst is over in Europe, Taiwan's third quarter gross domestic product should be able to return to positive, and then achieve over 3% in the fourth quarter," he said.

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