Manufacturing continues to outshine services in Q4, but shows clear signs of slowing down

Manufacturing, which makes up a fifth of the economy, grew 4.8 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter, revised down from earlier advance estimates of 6.1 per cent year on year.
Manufacturing, which makes up a fifth of the economy, grew 4.8 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter, revised down from earlier advance estimates of 6.1 per cent year on year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Manufacturing continued to power Singapore's economic growth in the final quarter of 2017 as the service sector picked up momentum.

Manufacturing, which makes up a fifth of the economy, grew 4.8 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter, revised down from earlier advance estimates of 6.2 per cent year on year.

This was also a sharp slowdown from the 19.1 per cent seen in the preceding quarter.

In the fourth quarter, growth in manufacturing was primarily driven by the electronics and precision engineering clusters, which continued to grow on the back of healthy demand for semiconductors. However, the sector's overall performance was dragged down by the transport engineering and biomedical engineering clusters, which saw weakness in the marine and offshore engineering segment as well as pharmaceuticals.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis, the manufacturing sector contracted by 14.8 per cent, a pullback from the 34.9 per cent expansion in the preceding quarter.

But even as manufacturing growth eased, the service sector looks poised to make up for lost ground.

Services grew 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, revised up from earlier estimates of 3 per cent year on year.

 
 

The construction sector remained lacklustre, shrinking by 5 per cent on a year-on-year basis, easing from the 9.3 per cent contraction in the third quarter. The contraction was mostly due to the weakness in private-sector construction works.

For the whole of 2017, manufacturing was the key growth driver. It expanded 10.1 per cent, accelerating from the 3.7 per cent growth in 2016.

Services grew by 2.8 per cent in 2017, up from 1.4 per cent in 2016.

Construction had a dismal year as it contracted by 8.4 per cent, a reversal of the 1.9 per cent growth in 2016.