TAIPEI - Taiwan's exports likely rose for an eighth straight month in February, a Reuters poll showed, lifted by demand for electronic goods as people continue to work and study from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and as new smartphones are released. Taiwan is one of Asia's major exporters of technology goods, and its export trend is a key gauge of global demand for hi-tech gadgets. It is a key supplier to Apple Inc, which cornered nearly a quarter of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, making it the world's biggest seller. The median forecasts from the poll of 13 analysts ranged widely between a fall of 15% and growth of 18% amid uncertainties over the coronavirus outbreak that has disrupted the global supply chain and sent major economies into recession. Exports were seen climbing 10.5% last month, though likely impacted by the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which fell in February this year. In January, exports jumped 36.8% from a year earlier. Imports were seen growing 12.2% in February, after leaping 29.9% in the prior month. Taiwan's exports have been helped by demand for laptops and tablets to support the work-from-home trend during the pandemic. The consumer price index (CPI) was tipped to rise 0.8% from a year earlier, compared with a slight decrease of 0.16% in January. The trade and inflation data will both be released on Tuesday. REUTERS
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