The Rundown: Hydrogen Dialogue, Increased GDP Forecasts, and Delayed Investment Recovery

A weekly snapshot of Taiwan business news stories brought to you by CommonWealth and AmCham Taiwan’s TOPICS

Taiwan, Australia Seek Cooperation on Hydrogen

On July 29, the Australian Office in Taipei and Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs held the Australia-Taiwan Hydrogen Trade and Investment Dialogue to discuss opportunities for developing hydrogen energy and other emerging low-emissions technologies.

Those attending the virtual meeting included the Australian Minister of Trade Dan Tehan and Taiwan’s Minister of Economy Wang Mei-hua. Dr. Alan Finkel, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emission Technologies, delivered the keynote speech.

Australia and Taiwan are important trade partners in the areas of energy and natural resources. Australia is Taiwan’s largest energy supplier, while Taiwan is Australia’s fourth-largest energy and resource export market. The research, development, and construction of low-emissions technologies are critical to reducing carbon emissions and creating new economic opportunities. Bilateral trade and investment in wind, solar, and emerging hydrogen energy technology also offers opportunities to deepen the partnership between Australia and Taiwan.

New GDP Growth Predictions Exceed 5%

Academia Sinica, one of Taiwan’s foremost research institutions, released its latest annual GDP growth forecast on July 28. At 5.05%, it represents a 0.8% increase from the organization’s previous estimate, indicating optimism about Taiwan’s economic recovery.

Academia Sinica stated that although the May outbreak of local COVID-19 infections severely affected the domestic service industry, it has gradually been brought under control. The institution also noted that with the help of the government’s recent stimulus measures, domestic consumption could recover in the second half of 2021, but that it will also depend on how successful Taiwan’s vaccination program is. It estimated annual real private consumption growth rate 2.05%, down from its previous prediction of 4.17%.

In addition to Academia Sinica, the Chung-hua Institution of Economic Research and the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research have recently released their own forecasts, predicting 2021 GDP growth of 5.16% and 5.4%, respectively.

DBS’ Q3 Outlook Predicts Mid-2022 Recovery for Private Investment

Singapore-based financial services group DBS in its latest economic outlook media briefing estimated that private investment in Taiwan will not fully return to pre-pandemic levels until mid-2022. The company further stated that Taiwan’s annual GDP growth rate will remain unchanged from the recent forecasts of approximately 5%, beating out South Korea’s 3.8%.

DBS Senior Economist Ma Tieying stated that given Taiwan’s relative lack of vaccine coverage, there is a risk of another outbreak occurring in the fall and winter this year. It is therefore unclear whether private consumption will completely recover in the second half of this year.

Ma expressed optimism regarding Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, which he said will remain strong going into next year. In addition, DBS expects that the global chip shortage will continue until 2022, and that Taiwan’s exports of electronic components and supply chain investments will continue to grow.

This edition was translated from the original Chinese by Julia Zhou.