Singapore exports to China weakest in seven years; dives 25% in January

'Manufacturing and jobs growth are contracting and there are signs that services are starting to buckle'

Singapore's exports to China plunged 25 percent in January in the biggest indication yet that the island state's economy is not insulated against the slowdown in its largest exports market.

The key non-oil domestic exports of goods made in Singapore fell 9.9 percent in January.

The biiggest drop in exports to China since the financial crisis of 2008 came in the backdrop of a fall in China's growth rate and the increasing focus towards domestic production.

The latest figures raise fears about Singapore economy sliding into recession. "Manufacturing is contracting at a rate we last saw during the last financial crisis. Jobs growth is contracting at the same rate. Services were resilient last year, but now there are signs that services are starting to buckle," Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin said, according to the Straits Times.

The decline was than the market forecast of a 7.6 per cent contraction and it far exceeded the 7.2 per cent fall in December, International Enterprise Singapore said.

Singapore's exports to the European Union rose 14.3 percent on-year in January, while exports to the US fell 5.1% percent.

"This is the first official set of economic numbers for the year and it certainly spells bad news on this small and open economy. A tepid growth outlook in the US and the slowdown in China are weighing on growth prospects," DBS said in a note.