Biomed sector badgers Singapore manufacturing output in May

Singapore Economic Development Board says manufacturing output increased 5 per cent, thanks to the 35.1 per cent growth in the electronics cluster.

Singapore manufacturing output
A general view of factories at an industrial park in Singapore September 16, 2014. Reuters

Whilst Singapore still recorded a positive growth in its manufacturing output in May, the biomedical sector hindered its supposed 13.1 per cent growth. According to Singapore Economic Development Board, manufacturing output increased 5 per cent, thanks to the 35.1 per cent growth in the electronics cluster. The said cluster was supported by the semiconductors segment, which posted a robust 48.3 per cent growth.

The precision engineering cluster also saw a positive growth in May, up 19.1 per cent on the back of the 22.9 per cent increase in the output from the machinery & systems segment. The output of the precision modules and components segment also clocked in an increase, up 13.2 per cent with the higher production of dies, moulds, tools, jigs & fixture, optical instruments and metal precision parts.

The manufacturing output was also given a boost from the chemicals cluster, which reported a 5.3 per cent growth in output for the said month. Growth in this cluster was led by the specialties and petrochemicals segments which grew 9.7 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively.

Three clusters reported declines in the said month. The cut was shallow in the general manufacturing industries, which saw output fall 9 per cent. The output of the miscellaneous industries segment fell 6.7 per cent, on account of the lower production of fibreglass products and construction-related materials. The food, beverages & tobacco and printing segments also contracted 9.8 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively.

It was the same story for the transport engineering cluster, whose outputs contracted 12.8 per cent due to the 28 per cent decrease in the output from the marine & offshore segment. This came as rig-building activities and demand for oilfield & gas field equipment remained weak. The segment also suffered lower shipbuilding and repair activities.

The biomedical manufacturing recorded the largest contraction, ending the month with a 22.2 per cent decline. The medical technology segment expanded 19.1 per cent with higher export demand for medical devices, while the pharmaceuticals segment fell 32.6 per cent with lower production of active pharmaceutical ingredients.