After blockbuster Q4, Taiwan says economy may grow 4% this year

TAIPEI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s trade-dependent economy could grow more than 4% this year on the back of booming demand for its tech products as long as the COVID-19 pandemic remains under control, Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said on Saturday.

Taiwan’s economy grew at its fastest pace in almost a decade in the fourth quarter after contracting earlier last year. For 2020, initial GDP growth was put at 2.98%, higher than China’s 2.3% rise last year..

Taiwan, home to major Apple Inc suppliers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) the world’s largest contract chip maker, has benefited for demand for computers and tablets as the pandemic has forced people to work and study from home around the world.

Wang, in an interview with Formosa Television, said her conversations with Taiwanese companies led her to believe a GDP growth of more than 4% this year was possible.

“I see how busy they are. I think there’s an opportunity for it to exceed 4%,” she said.

But Wang added that was predicated on the pandemic remaining under control.

While Taiwan is currently dealing with a small and rare outbreak of local transmissions connected to a single hospital, the large majority of its 909 confirmed cases have been imported from abroad, and the island has never gone into lockdown.

In November, the government’s statistics department foresaw full-year 2021 growth of 3.83%, its fastest pace since 2014. It is due to give an updated forecast next month. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Angus MacSwan)