Singapore non-oil exports suffer worst slide in six months in August, far short of expectations

Shipments from Singapore suffered a sharp decline in August.
Shipments from Singapore suffered a sharp decline in August.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Shipments from Singapore suffered their sharpest fall in six months in August, underscoring fears over weaker global growth as China's economy slows markedly.

Non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) from the Republic shrank 8.4 per cent in August from the same month in 2014, falling far short of market expectations of a 3.5 per cent contraction, said UOB economist Francis Tan in a note Thursday.

"The sharper-than-expected Nodx decline in August brought back fears on the global growth slowdown that is tied to the lacklustre growth in China, as well as in Europe; both of which are Singapore's largest exporting partners," Mr Tan said.

He said the latest figures meant UOB was "increasingly convinced" the Monetary Authority of Singapore might ease monetary policy at its meeting next month.

A weaker Singapore dollar makes the nation's exports cheaper.

Mr Tan said the Singapore dollar fell 0.3 per cent upon the release of the poorer-than-expected data to hit 1.4005 to the US dollar.

In the latest data, released Thursday by trade agency IE Singapore, far weaker Nodxs to Taiwan, mainland China and South Korea took an especially heavy toll.

The latest slump was a significantly worse showing than in July when these exports contracted 0.7 per cent.

Factory output was weaker across the board in both the electronics and non-electronics segments of the market.

Electronics shipments slid 2.7 per cent in August after a 2.5 fall in July, but non-electronics goods suffered a bigger 10.6 contraction in August after slipping 2 per cent in July.

The heaviest falls in the electronics sector came from integrated circuits, which nosedived 68.1 per cent and personal computer parts which tanked 29.7 per cent.

Among non-electronics goods, the biggest falls came from petrochemicals, which fell 29.2 per cent, pharmaceuticals, which slid 9.3 per cent, and structures of ships and boats, which dived 96.8 per cent.

All of Singapore's top 10 export markets suffered declines except Thailand, the United States and Hong Kong.

Exports to Taiwan tumbled by 22.4 per cent in August, shipments to mainland China slid by 8.2 per cent, and South Korean shipments crashed by 28.6 per cent.

IE Singapore said total trade contracted by 9 per cent in August following the 6.6 per cent decline in July.

Total exports decreased by 10.8 per cent in August, following the 4.2 per cent contraction in the previous month. Total imports declined by 6.8 per cent in August, following the 9.2 per cent decrease in July.