Factory output in October powers ahead with 14.6% rise

A worker at semiconductor giant, Infineon, placing integrated circuit packages onto boards before they are sent for further testing or storage. PHOTO: ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Factory production delivered another impressive performance for the month of October, shrugging off a steep decline in biomedical output.

The Economic Development Board on Friday (Nov 24) reported that the overall manufacturing output grew 14.6 per cent in October, slightly missing economist estimates of 16 per cent. September's industrial output was revised lower to 14.4 per cent, from an earlier estimate of 14.6 per cent.

But if the traditionally volatile biomedical sector was excluded, growth would have been 25.8 per cent.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, factory output went up by 0.7 per cent in October. With biomedical manufacturing stripped out, output grew 6.8 per cent.

Manufacturing growth continued to be powered by electronics, which grew 45.1 per cent last month. This was again driven by the semiconductors segment which posted robust growth of 64.6 per cent.

Precision engineering - a beneficiary of the rise in global electronics demand - grew 23.6 per cent year on year.

The chemicals and general manufacturing clusters also turned in decent report cards, with growth of 15 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.

Transport engineering, however, declined 3.8 per cent. It was dragged down by the land transport and marine & offshore engineering segments.

Biomedical manufacturing output fell 24.2 per cent compared to a year ago, on the back of a decline in the pharmaceuticals segment of 36.1 per cent.

This data comes one day after the Ministry of Trade and Industry upgraded its forecast for Singapore's 2017 economic growth to 3 to 3.5 per cent, up from 2 to 3 per cent previously. This came from strong trade momentum and a better-than-expected demand for electronics, which helped lift overall growth.

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