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Taiwan to ‘have no problem’ maintaining GDP growth of 2% this year

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will ‘have no problem’ maintaining economic growth of 2% this year, its statistics chief said on Wednesday, amid concerns that a coronavirus outbreak could hit the economy of the island which is a key part of the global technology supply chain.

Taiwan, whose largest trading partner is China, cut its estimate for 2020 economic growth to 2.37% last month as the outbreak threatened its export-reliant economy.

Chu Tzer-ming, minister of the statistics agency, told parliament that a T$60 billion ($2 billion) stimulus package would help soften the virus impact.

He said the package would give a 0.23% boost to GDP growth this year.

Analysts at ANZ this week cut their GDP growth forecast for Taiwan to a five-year low of 1.6% from 2.1%, citing weaker export and domestic demand due to the virus.

Taiwan tech firms, who have large manufacturing operations in China, have been under particular pressure over the virus, which has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 people in China.

Apple <AAPL.O> supplier Foxconn <2317.TW> warned on Tuesday revenue would drop 15% in businesses including consumer electronics and telecommunication products in the first quarter, but that it would recover thereafter as production returns to normal in China.

Taiwan’s benchmark index <.TWII> has fallen about 6% so far this year.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee and Emily Chan; Editing by Himani Sarkar & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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