SINGAPORE - Factory output contracted for the sixth consecutive month in July, year-on-year, performing worse than private-sector forecasters had tipped.
The latest manufacturing data, which showed output sliding 6.1 per cent last month (July), came in way below the 4 per cent decline forecast by economists in a Bloomberg poll.
There were broad declines last month across almost all factory clusters, except chemicals, with the volatile biomedical manufacturing segment suffering the biggest plunge.
Biomedical output slid 13.4 per cent in July from a year ago, due in large part to a contraction in pharmaceuticals production.
If biomedical manufacturing were excluded, overall manufacturing output would have fallen 4.1 per cent.
The electronics, general manufacturing, transport engineering and precision engineering clusters also saw declines in output last month.
The sole bright spot was the chemicals cluster, which grew 4.4. per cent in July over the same month last year. The cluster's growth was led by the specialties and petroleum segments. Growth in the specialties segment was supported by higher export demand, the Economic Development Board said on Wednesday (Aug 26).