Singapore exports surge by 11.6 per cent in May, reversing months of decline

Trucks ply the serviceway at PSA's Keppel container port in Singapore on April 18.
Trucks ply the serviceway at PSA's Keppel container port in Singapore on April 18.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Exports from Singapore surged 11.6 per cent in May from the same month last year, in a stunning turnaround from months of decline.

New figures from trade agency IE Singapore showed non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) - the main measure of shipments - put in their best month in more than 12 months.

In April, for example, Nodx slumped by 7.9 per cent year on year.

The unexpectedly strong performance in May was far better than the median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts, which was for Nodx to shrink 2.3 per cent.

The best performing exports included pre-fabricated buildings and pharmaceuticals.

The dazzling expansion in May came despite a continued slide in electronics exports, which sank 6 per cent in May, following a 7.4 per cent contraction in April.

Non-electronics exports jumped 19 per cent year on year.

Singapore's best markets in May were the United States, Taiwan and Malaysia. For example, shipments to the US grew 9.1 per cent in May after shrinking 7 per cent in April.

It was an even bigger turnaround for Taiwan, with exports there leaping 11.2 per cent in May after collapsing 22.5 per cent in April.

But several markets did poorly including mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. For instance, exports to China shrank 10.1 per cent in May, worse than the 7.4 per cent contraction in April.

In May, IE Singapore sharply lowered its forecast for Singapore exports this year from 0 to 2 per cent expansion to a contraction of between 3 and 5 per cent.