Singapore non-oil exports come in flat in August, better than expected after July slide

Two man fish next to a container port in Singapore on Aug 17, 2016. Singapore's non-oil exports came in flat in August, better than expected after sinking in July.
Two man fish next to a container port in Singapore on Aug 17, 2016. Singapore's non-oil exports came in flat in August, better than expected after sinking in July. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) were unchanged in August from a year earlier, better than analysts expected and rebounding from a sharp 16.6 per cent slide in July, according to figures released on Friday (Sept 16) by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.

The increase in non-electronic shipments last month outweighed the decline in electronic exports, the trade agency noted.

Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a 4.1 per cent fall in August shipments, expecting the pace of contraction to ease on tentative signs of stabilisation in the Chinese economy.


PHOTO: IE SINGAPORE

Sales to the majority of Singapore's top 10 markets rose in August, except for the EU 28, China, Japan and Indonesia. The largest contributors to the increase in NODX were Taiwan, Hong Kong and the US.

Shipments to China - Singapore's single biggest export market - fell 5.4 per cent year on year in August compared to the 16.6 per cent tumble in July.

On a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis, August NODX was down 1.9 per cent, better than the 2.9 per cent fall forecast, and unchanged from the figure for July. August shipments totalled S$12.5 billion, slightly lower than the S$12.7 billion registered in the previous month.

Activity in Singapore factories contracted again in August but by less than in the previous month while the electronics sector expanded for the first time in 14 months, a survey showed earlier this month.

IE Singapore has also forecast that Singapore's export slump would ease in the second half of this year, though trade would remain in negative territory. It forecast NODX would shrink by 3 to 4 per cent this year, compared to its earlier projection of a 3 to 5 per cent contraction.

On a year on year basis, electronic exports declined by 6.0 per cent in August, following the 12.9 per cent contraction in July. The decrease was largely due to PCs (-21.6 per cent), disk drives (-31.2 per cent) and ICs (-1.9 per cent).

Non-electronic shipments increased by 2.7 per cent, compared to the 9.5 per cent contraction in the previous month. The rise was led by non-electric engines & motors (+80.7 per cent), specialised machinery (+23.0 per cent) and structural parts made of iron, steel & aluminium (+809.6 per cent).


PHOTO: IE SINGAPORE