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Taiwan's Export Orders Hit Record Low In January

Export orders plunged more than 40 percent and industrial output plummeted 43 percent as global demand for consumer electronics continued to wither.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwan's export orders plunged to a record low in January and industrial output plummeted as global demand for consumer electronics continued to wither, according to government figures released Tuesday.

The sharp drop in orders bodes ill for Taiwan's exports in the months ahead and comes after the island's exports dived more than 40 percent year-on-year in both December and January.

Export orders dropped 41.7 percent in January from a year earlier to $17.68 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement. Industrial output fell 43.1 percent, the ministry said.

Taiwan's economy has been dragged into a major tailspin by the global slowdown, with gross domestic product contracting a record 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

For all of 2009, the government is forecasting a 3 percent contraction.

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