Slump in Singapore exports forecast to ease though shipments will still contract in 2016

A container is loaded onto a ship docked at the terminal port in Singapore on June 17.
A container is loaded onto a ship docked at the terminal port in Singapore on June 17. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore's trade promotion agency has tightened upwards its forecasts for non-oil domestic export (NODX) growth for 2016 to -4 to -3.0 per cent from -5.0 to -3.0 per cent previously.

It also narrowed upwards its forecast for 2016 growth in merchandise trade (total exports plus total imports) to -7.0 to -6.0 per cent from -8.0 to -6.0 per cent, saying that "the drag from oil prices in year-on-year terms is likely to ease in the second half of this year".

But International Enterprise (IE) Singapore warned that global growth "remains clouded with uncertainties and is projected to remain sluggish in 2016".

It added though that there are "potential upsides" in the non-electronic domestic exports.


GRAPHIC: IE SINGAPORE

This came as it announced that NODX performance improved in the second quarter, coming in flat year-on-year as opposed to a 9 per cent plunge in the first quarter.

Shipments of electronic products, which accounted for 28.8 per cent of NODX, fell 5.1 per cent in Q2, after declining 3.4 per cent in Q1. But non-electronic NODX grew 2.1 per cent in Q2, rebunding from a 11.3 per cent contraction in Q1.


GRAPHIC: IE SINGAPORE

Shipments to half of Singapore's top 10 markets fell, with Indonesia, South Korea and China leading the decline. Sales to China, Singapore's largest export market, improved but remained weak, falling 9.1 per cent after a 14.6 per cent decline in the first quarter.

The biggest contributors to NODX expansion in the second quarter were the United States, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Specifically, shipments to the US, which is Singapore's fourth largest market, grew by 2.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter's decline of 3.0 per cent.