Date: May 7, 2020
By: Matthew C. Klein
Americans hoping to boost the economy by lifting restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus should pay close attention to Taiwan. The country of 23 million has handled the novel coronavirus better than any other country in the world, with fewer than 500 confirmed cases and only six deaths.
Taiwan never needed to shut businesses or impose lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus. But that hasn’t been enough to prevent the disease from taking a bite out of the economy. Taiwan’s experience is a sobering lesson on the limits of what “reopening” can achieve under even the best of conditions.
The most obvious problem for Taiwan is that many of its businesses sell to customers in other countries. As spending falls elsewhere, Taiwanese producers will take a hit regardless of domestic conditions. According to a survey of Taiwanese purchasing managers by IHS Markit, new orders for manufactured goods fell in April at the fastest rate since January 2009.
Taiwanese manufacturers had the biggest drop in new orders in April since the globalfinancial crisis. [FULL STORY]