Quick takes: Economists maintain cautious outlook on Singapore exports

Containers at PSA Singapore Pasir Panjang Terminal.
Containers at PSA Singapore Pasir Panjang Terminal. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew by 8.2 per cent year-on-year in June, led by stronger electronic and non-electronic shipment.

The increase was markedly up from forecasters' expectation of a 5.1 per cent rise, according to a Bloomberg poll.

Economists note that trade has regained momentum following two months of flat NODX performance in April and May.

However, they are cautious on the outlook in the second half of the year.

Maybank Kim Eng economists Chua Hak Bin and Lee Ju Ye:

"Trade continues to lead Singapore's growth recovery, which is likely to continue in the second half. Non-oil domestic exports regained momentum in June, driven by the rebound in non-electronics exports after the high-base induced decline in the past month... We expect NODX to continue posting robust growth for the next four months before moderating in Nov/Dec due to high base effects."

 

UOB economist Francis Tan:

"We still maintain our positive outlook on the overall NODX expansion for 2017, supported by continued growth in electronics exports. However, we do not expect the strong double digit NODX growth since November 2016 can be sustained into the second half of 2017. This is especially since the current electronics cycle may be coming towards an end with the rolling out of the next wave of smartphones likely in the second half of 2017."

Nomura:

"Overall, we continue to forecast full-year 2017 GDP growth of 2.5 per cent, similar to the official 1-3 per cent forecast range and an increase from 2.0 per cent growth in 2016. However, the broader economy outside of semiconductors remains weak and GDP growth will likely remain uneven this year."