TAIPEI - Taiwan's export-reliant economy expanded by just 0.36 percent in the three months to March, the slowest since 2009, dampened by weakening demand from the key Chinese market, the government said Monday.
The first-quarter preliminary growth forecast, released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, compared with a February prediction for first-quarter year-on-year growth of 1.19 percent.
"Slowing demand from mainland China indeed has had an impact on the export sector," an official with the directorate told AFP.
First-quarter growth was down from 1.89 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and was at the lowest level since the third quarter of 2009 when it contracted 1.41 percent.
"The decline in exports of electronic, information and telecommunication, plastics and optical products was sharper than our expectations," the directorate said.
Exports in the three-month period fell four percent year-on-year while Taiwan's shipments to China, the island's biggest overseas market, plunged by 9.7 percent, according to figures compiled by the finance ministry.
For the full 2012 period, Taiwan's GDP is forecast to grow 3.38 percent, down from a February forecast of 3.85 percent, according to the directorate.
In 2011 Taiwan's economy grew by 4.04 percent following sizzling growth in 2010 of 10.72 percent - a 24-year high - fuelled mainly by demand in China.