Singapore December exports jump on back of 40% rise in China shipments

Non-oil domestic exports grow 9.4 percent, petrochemicals shipment jumps 28.5 percent.

Singapore exports jump in December on back of 40% rise in China shipments
An aerial view of shipping containers stacked at the port of Singapore February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Edgar Su/

Singapore exports in December rose 9.4 percent on the back of a rebound in the shipment of both electronic and non-electronic goods. Figures released by the International Enterprise Singapore showed shipments to six of the country's top 10 markets expanded, with China, Taiwan and Hong Kong contributing the largest share to the increase.

It's the second month in a row that the shipments from the trade-dependent economy has expanded. Singapore exports had recorded an 11.5 percent growth in November.

The better-than-expected numbers in December owed mainly to a surge in exports to China, with shipments to the main trade partner rising 40 percent from December last year. Exports to the US fell 17 percent during the same period.

However, some analysts warned the surge in exports to China could be deceptive. "Cyclically, there is a recovery in China but you're definitely not going back to 8 percent growth. Quarter to quarter there may be some improvement, and that's what you're seeing. There will be a deceleration in China's growth overall," Julian Wee, a Singapore-based senior market strategist at National Australia Bank Ltd, told Bloomberg.

Singapore's export-led economy had been pressured by the global downturn for more than a year, with the city state' dominant oil and gas sector suffering long-term setback due to the continued slump in oil prices.

Despite growth in the last two months of the year, exports for the whole of 2016 fell 2.4 percent, compared with the 0.2 percent overall growth in 2015.

While non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew 9.4 percent, growth in electronic exports was 5.7 percent and the non-electronic exports expanded 11.3 percent. Pharmaceuticals exports rose 7.3 percent and petrochemicals jumped 28.5 percent.

Data showed earlier this month that Singapore economy reported a faster-than-expected annual growth rate of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, helping it avoid a technical recession.

According to the latest survey by the Singapore central bank, private economists projected that growth would drop to 1.4 percent this year compared with a previous forecast of 1.8 percent growth. For 2017, the projected growth rate is a marginally faster 1.5 percent. Previous estimates of 2017 growth were pegged at 1.8 percent.