Singapore factory output falls less-than-expected 1.9% in December

Workers at Add-Plus, an electronics manufacturing company that makes printed circuit boards. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Workers at Add-Plus, an electronics manufacturing company that makes printed circuit boards. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Singapore's manufacturing sector stayed in contraction mode in December, according to numbers released by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) on Monday (Jan 26).

Factory output last month fell 1.9 per cent from a year earlier, partly due to a comparison against a high base then.

It was the fourth consecutive month of contraction but a smaller drop than the 2.8 per cent decline in November.

December's showing was also better than expected. The median estimate in a Reuters survey of 13 economists was for factory output to fall 3.9 per cent in December year-on-year.

Excluding the volatile biomedical manufacturing sector - which contracted 1 per cent last month after November's 1.1 per cent decline - December output fell by a larger 2.1 per cent.

This was due to declines in the electronics (-2.4 per cent), chemicals (-2.7 per cent), transport engineering (-6.8 per cent), and general manufacturing (-4 per cent) clusters.

The only sector that saw year-on-year growth in December was precision engineering, which expanded by 10.9 per cent.

Compared to November, manufacturing production grew 1.8 per cent in December, after seasonal adjustments. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output increased 1.5 per cent month-on-month.

For the year, factory output rose 2.6 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013.

The yearly performance for the various sectors are as follows: biomedical manufacturing (8.8 per cent), precision engineering (3.8 per cent), chemicals (5.3 per cent), transport engineering (0.9 per cent), electronics sector (-0.1 per cent) and general manufacturing (-1.7 per cent).