Singapore manufacturing output falls 3.6% in February

SINGAPORE - Singapore's industrial production turned negative again in February after a small upturn in the previous month as the Republic continued to wrestle with sluggish external demand.

Manufacturing output fell 3.6 year on year in February, compared with a upwardly revised 1.3 per cent rise in January, according to preliminary figures released by the Economic Development Board on Thursday. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell a heftier 3.9 per cent in February, the data showed.

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On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output increased 4.1 per cent in February compared with January. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 1.1 per cent.

The electronics sector, which accounts for a third of total production, reported a 4.5 per cent year-on-year fall in output in February, after being largely flat in January. All except the other electronic modules & components segment recorded output declines. Cumulatively, output of the electronics cluster declined 2.3 per cent from January to February this year, compared to the same period last year.

Production in the unpredictable pharmaceuticals segment fell 7.3 per cent year on year, reversing from a 3.9 per cent rise in January. This more than offset a 21.7 per cent increase in output in the medical technology segment from higher export demand for medical instruments and consumables. The overall biomedical manufacturing cluster's output declined 2.5 per cent in February. On a year-to-date basis, the cluster's output increased 1.8 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.