Singapore October exports contract 12% in worse than expected slump

Export numbers hit by an even fall in the shipment of both electronics and non-electronic products.

Singapore economy expands by 1.8 per cent in Quarter 1
The skyline of the central business district in Singapore Reuters

Weak global demand continued to hurt Singapore's exports, which declined 12 percent in October , faring worse than expected and adding to the pain of a 5 percent fall in September, figures released by International Enterprise (IE) showed on Thursday.

Non-oil domestic export to the majority of the top 10 markets, except Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, contracted in October, impacted by en even fall in the shipment of both electronics and non-electronic products. Exports to the European Union, Japan and Indonesia suffered the worst, data showed.

Total trade declined by 7.8 percent year-on- year in October compared with the 3.6 percent decrease in the previous month. Total exports decreased by 9.2 percent in October 2016, after the 1.4 percent decline in the previous month. Total imports decreased by 6.0 per cent in October 2016, following the 6.2 per cent decline in the preceding month.

While the export of electronic products contracted 6.0 percent in October, export of non-electronic products fell 14.6 percent. Export of pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and civil engineering equipment parts fell substantially in the previous month.

While exports to China and the US declined marginally in October, exports to emerging markets decreased by 37.1 percent, compared with a 0.7 percent decline in the previous month.

The export-driven Singapore economy grew just 0.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, slower than the 2 percent growth in the second quarter. The economy has 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.

The persisting export slump was evident from the annualised 17.4 percent drop in manufacturing during the latest quarter.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said last month the trade dependent economy weakened over the past six months with all sectors seeing a broad-based downshift.

The relatively steady but mediocre growth in external demand is likely to continue over the near term, the central bank said. "While the risk of a major global downturn has subsided somewhat, external demand will continue to be uneven across a number of Singapore's key export markets," MAs said.

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