Singapore non-oil exports fall 12% in October, worse than expected

The PSA Pasir Panjang container terminal.
The PSA Pasir Panjang container terminal.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's exports fell by the most in seven months in October and for a second straight month, as weak global demand showed no sign of letting off.

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell 12 per cent last month from a year earlier, said International Enterprise (IE) Singapore on Thursday (Nov 17).

The fall was much worse than the 3.5 per cent drop expected by economists polled by Reuters. Electronic sales continued to decline, while non-electronics exports fell more sharply.

In September, overseas shipments slumped 5 per cent year on year, although the contraction was less than expected with sales to China, Singapore's single largest market, declining at a slower pace.

This was also true in October, with exports to China dipping by just 0.1 per cent, easing further from the 2.2 per cent decline in September.

The largest contributors to the drop in October's exports were the European Union (-28.6 per cent), Japan (-19.9 per cent) and Indonesia (-13.1 per cent). Sales to the US declined 3.7 per cent.

Of Singapore's top 10 markets, exports rose only for Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

On a month on month, seasonally adjusted basis, NODX in October fell 3.7 per cent, in contrast to September's 2.2 per cent increase. Shipments reached S$12.3 billion in October, lower than September's S$12.7 billion.

Year on year, electronic shipments contracted by 6 per cent in October, following the 6.6 per cent decline in September. The fall was largely due to ICs (-5.1 per cent), disk drives (-47.7 per cent) and telecommunications equipment (-19.9 per cent).

Non-electronic exports fell by 14.6 per cent, after the 4.2 per cent decline in the previous month. The decrease was led by pharmaceuticals (-47.0 per cent), petrochemicals (-7.0 per cent) and civil engineering equipment parts (-40.7 per cent).

Activity at Singapore's factories moderated in October with overall industrial output slower, though an index for the key electronics sector hit a two-year high thanks to new orders and exports, a private survey showed earlier this month.