SINGAPORE - January's factory output grew just 0.9 per cent from a year ago, far lower than economists' median estimate, which was for a 3.3 per cent expansion.
Though the biomedical manufacturing and precision engineering clusters posted strong growth, the headline number took a hit from weak transport engineering activity, according to data released Thursday by the Economic Development Board.
Output from the biomedical manufacturing cluster expanded 5.3 per cent last month, due mainly to strong demand for new medical devices.
Output from the precision engineering cluster climbed 4.1 per cent in January from the same period a year ago, thanks to higher production of metal precision components, optical instruments, and photographic equipment.
Meanwhile, output from the transport engineering cluster fell 2.2 per cent. A contraction in the aerospace segment due to weak demand for repair jobs offset growth in the land transport and marine and offshore engineering segments.
The general manufacturing industries cluster's output also fell 0.3 per cent in January, while the chemicals cluster's output fell 0.5 per cent from a year ago.
Output of the electronics cluster was unchanged.