Feb manufacturing output slumps 16.6% on Chinese New Year lull

SINGAPORE'S factories produced less than expected last month, mainly due to a slowdown during the Chinese New Year period.

Manufacturing output here shrank 16.6 per cent in February compared with the same period last year, according to figures released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) today. The sector contracted 0.4 per cent in January from a year ago due to a sharp fall in pharmaceutical output.

Economists expected a 10.5 per cent contraction last month, based on a Reuters poll.

Stripping out the biomedical cluster, which includes drugs output, overall manufacturing would have dropped by 16.2 per cent last month, said the EDB.

Electronics was the worst performer, sinking 21.1 per cent last month due to the high base effect suffered by the production of disk drives.

Biomedical manufacturing fell 18 per cent last month, while transport engineering output decreased by 15.7 per cent.

General manufacturing production shrank 11.5 per cent while precision engineering output contracted 19.5 per cent.