Singapore factory output sees small 0.7 per cent rise in February; January's drop slashed

The slight growth of Singapore's manufacturing output exceeded the expectations of analysts, who had predicted a decline of 0.4 per cent year on year.
The slight growth of Singapore's manufacturing output exceeded the expectations of analysts, who had predicted a decline of 0.4 per cent year on year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's manufacturing output grew 0.7 per cent in February compared with last year, thanks to the boost from pharmaceuticals, according to figures from the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday (March 26).

This slight growth exceeded the expectations of analysts polled by Bloomberg, who predicted a decline of 0.4 per cent year on year.

Output fell 1.6 per cent when biomedical manufacturing was excluded.

The latest EDB report also showed that January's estimate of a 3.1 per cent decline was sharply revised up to a mild 0.4 per cent dip. This came after the output for the key electronics sector was revised from a 13.7 per cent drop to the smaller 4.0 per cent decline in the flash estimate. Conversely, growth in transport engineering output in January was cut to 10.4 per cent from 20.2 per cent, due to updated information about a firm-specific factor from the the marine and offshore segment.

For February, the biomedical manufacturing sector grew the most at 13.3 per cent compared with the same period last year. The pharmaceuticals segment saw an increased output of 17.9 per cent, on account of a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients being produced compared with a year ago, the EDB noted.

Output of the medical technology segment rose by 3.3 per cent with sustained export demand.

Transport engineering also recorded growth, with output increasing by 4.2 per cent. The land transport and aerospace segments grew 16.8 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively. "The latter (recorded) more repair and maintenance activities from commercial airlines," said the EDB.

Within this sector, the marine and offshore engineering segment fell 7.7 per cent because of a lower volume of offshore projects and shipbuilding and repairing activities.

The chemicals industry grew 2 per cent, with the other chemicals segment expanding 30.9 per cent due to higher production of fragrances.

However, the petroleum, specialities and petrochemicals segments contracted by around 4 per cent to 9 per cent largely due to maintenance shutdowns in some plants.

General manufacturing also recorded growth, with output going up by 4.1 per cent. The food, beverages and tobacco segment expanded 12.2 per cent, on account of higher production of infant milk and beverage products.

However the electronics industry saw output slide by 1.1 per cent. Precision engineering also recorded a dip, falling 14.9 per cent. The machinery and systems segment of this industry saw output fall 27.8 per cent, mainly due to lower production of semiconductor equipment.