Singapore non-oil exports enjoy surprise 2.1% rise in February

Economists were expecting February's NODX to fall a more moderate 2.6 per cent from a year earlier.
Economists were expecting February's NODX to fall a more moderate 2.6 per cent from a year earlier. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) posted an unexpected rise in February, as both electronic and non-electronic shipments grew.

NODX in February rose 2.1 per cent from a year earlier, according to a report from International Enterprise (IE) Singapore on Thursday (March 17).

Economists polled by Reuters were expecting February NODX to fall a more moderate 2.6 per cent from a year earlier, noting the low base of weak exports in February last year.

In January, exports tumbled a 10.1 per cent - its third straight month of contraction, as sales to China, Singapore's largest export market in 2014, collapsed and shipments to the US, which had been holding up, also fell.

 

For February, IE Singapore said shipments to all of Singapre's top 10 NODX markets, except Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, grew in February 2016.

The largest contributors to the NODX expansion were the EU 28 (+16.1 per cent), Hong Kong (+21.9 per cent) and Japan (+15.1 per cent).

Sales to China dipped 1.2 per cent in contrast to the 25.2 per cent plunge in January, while shipments to the US rose 4.2 per cent, reversing a 5.1 per cent.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis (SA), exports declined 1.4 per cent, in contrast to the previous month's 0.6 per cent increase, due to the contraction in both electronic and non-electronic NODX.

On a SA basis, the level of NODX reached S$12.2 billion in February 2016, lower than the S$12.7 billion registered in the previous month.

On a year-on-year basis, electronic NODX increased by 0.7 per cent in February, compared to a 0.6 per cent decline in the previous month. The rise in electronic domestic exports was largely due to disk media products (+20.9 per cent), telecommunications equipment (+23.5 per cent) and PCs (+9.9 per cent).

Non-electronic shipments expanded by 2.7 per cent in contrast to the 14.1 per cent decline in the previous month. The increase was led by pharmaceuticals (+40.0 per cent), non-monetary gold (+94.0 per cent) and jewellery (+55.6 per cent).

A Reuters poll published in early March showed that the risk of monetary easing by Singapore's central bank is seen as having risen recently as slowing global growth impact its trade-reliant economy.

Most analysts, however, expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore to keep policy unchanged at its next meeting in April, barring a sharper slowdown in China and steeper job losses.