* Taiwan May exports +38.6% y/y vs +26.0% Reuters poll
* May imports +40.9% y/y vs +25.7% in poll
* Finance ministry expects June exports +27% to +31% y/y
* Govt warns Taiwan's COVID-19 spike could cloud outlook
TAIPEI, June 8 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports rose for an 11th
straight month in May, and far exceeded expectations, boosted by
global demand for microchips and hi-tech gadgets in the
work-from-home pandemic boom, but the island's own COVID-19
spike could cloud the outlook.
Exports rose 38.6% from a year earlier to $37.41 billion
last month, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday, setting a
new historical high in value terms for a single month.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 26% for
May, compared with a 38.7% increase in April.
The ministry attributed the growth to continued strong
demand for tech products to support remote working and the "no
touch" economy during the pandemic.
Firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co
Ltd(TSMC) are major suppliers to Apple Inc
and other global tech giants, as well as providers of
key chips for auto companies and lower-end consumer electronics.
The ministry said it saw risks ahead from a rise in domestic
COVID-19 infections in Taiwan as well as progress on vaccine
deliveries, which have been a problem for the island as it gets
caught in global supply shortages.
However, it said global economic fundamentals continue to
improve, and that Taiwan's semiconductor industry stands to gain
from demand for 5G and other high-tech products.
The ministry added that assuming coronavirus cases do not
start affecting production domestically, which has not happened
in a significant way so far, exports in the second quarter could
exceed $100 billion.
May exports to China, Taiwan's largest trading partner,
jumped an annual 29.5% to $15.69 billion, while exports to the
United States grew 27.3% on year.
Imports leapt 40.9%, against economists' expectations for a
25.7% rise and an increase of 26.4% in April.
Taiwan could see June exports increase in the range of 27%
to 31% from a year earlier, the ministry added.
The government has remained bullish about Taiwan's prospects
even with the pandemic at home.
Taiwan's economy will grow at its fastest pace in more than
a decade in 2021, the statistics office predicted last
(Reporting by Jeanny Kao and Liang-sa Loh; Writing by Ben
Blanchard; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)