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Taiwan, home to many of the world’s largest technology companies, reported a daily record 127 Covid deaths on Saturday, an increase of one from 126 on Friday, amid signs the global pandemic was slowing economic growth both there and around the world.
The Central Epidemic Command Center also reported 80,835 domestic Covid cases on Saturday, down from a single-day record of 94,808 domestic infections on Friday, the Central News Agency said. The pandemic will likely remain at a “high but stable plateau” for at least two weeks in Taiwan, CNA said.
The record increase in deaths followed a cut in the government’s GDP forecast for 2022 on Thursday to 3.91% from 4.42%, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. DGBAS’s forecast for Taiwan’s private consumption growth was lowered by two percentage points from the previous estimate to 3.10%, which is turn shaved the GDP growth forecast by 0.5 to 0.7 percentage points this year, CNA said. The government’s forecast for private investment growth was lowered by 1.04 percentage points to 4.61%. Investment growth will be buoyed by the semiconductor industry, CNA said.
The cut in Taiwan’s expected GDP increase this year comes amid worries of recession or slowing growth in the U.S. and mainland China, the world’s two largest economies. Taiwan ranks No. 22. At 94,808, the number of new Covid cases reported in Taiwan on Thursday wasn’t far from the U.S. seven-day average of 109,643 new cases even though the American population is approximately 14 times larger. Most cases in both economies have been mild.
In another sign that the global pandemic is weighing on Taiwan’s economy, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research said this week business sentiment in the local manufacturing sector fell to a two-year low in April. Covid-related lockdowns in the mainland, where Taiwan is a large investor along with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dampened sentiment, CNA also reported.
In contrast to Taiwan, mainland China has used lengthy, stringent lockdowns of infected or potentially exposed individuals to limit the spread of Covid. Though some restrictions have eased, much of Shanghai has been in various stages of lockdown in April and May, disrupting global supply chains.
Taiwan has a population of more than 23 million and is a leading source of the world’s semiconductors. Taiwan businesses that rank on the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world’s top publicly traded companies include Hon Hai Precision — the big supplier to Apple led by billionaire Terry Gou, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., or TSMC, which makes computer chips for Intel. Others among Taiwan’s numerous Apple suppliers include Pegatron, Lite-On Technology, Inventec, Catcher Technology, Largan Precision and Compeq Manufacturing.
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