Singapore's factory output falls for 10th straight month

Factory output contracted 5.5 per cent last month from a year earlier, falling short of market expectations yet again.
Factory output contracted 5.5 per cent last month from a year earlier, falling short of market expectations yet again.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Factory output contracted 5.5 per cent last month from a year earlier, falling short of market expectations yet again.

A Bloomberg poll of 17 economists had been for a 3.0 per cent contraction. The last time the manufacturing sector posted an expansion was in January.

If the volatile biomedical manufacturing sector is excluded, output fell 6.4 per cent from a year ago.

Of the six manufacturing clusters, only the chemicals cluster expanded in November.

The headline number was hit hard by weak activity in the electronics and transport engineering sector, according to data released Thursday (Dec 24) by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Output of the transport engineering cluster fell 11.2 per cent from a year ago, dragged down by a 20.1 per cent contraction in marine and offshore engineering, as well as a 20.7 per cent contraction in land transport engineering.

"The marine and offshore engineering segment was affected by lower levels of rig-building activities, as well as weaker demand for oilfield and gasfield equipment amidst a low oil price environment," the EDB said in a statement.

Electronics output fell 11.1 per cent from a year ago, as all segments except data storage and other electronic modules and components registered lower activity.

After seasonal adjustments, November's data fell 3.6 per cent from October.