Singapore factory output growth cools to 2% in January

Biomedical output declined 10.6 per cent, sliding from a 90.5 per cent jump in December. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore’s manufacturing output rose for a fourth straight month in January but at a sharply slower pace, as pharmaceuticals shrank and the key electronics sector was flat amid a small contraction in semiconductor production.

On a year-on-year basis, factory output increased by 2 per cent, much less than the revised 16.7 per cent growth posted in December, according to data released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Friday (Feb 25).

It also missed by a wide margin the 11.6 per growth tipped in a Bloomberg poll of analysts.

Excluding biomedical production, output grew 4.7 per cent last month.

Biomedical output declined 10.6 per cent, sliding from a 90.5 per cent jump in December.

The medical technology segment expanded 1.1 per cent with higher export demand for medical devices. By contrast, pharmaceuticals output shrank 18 per cent due to lower production of biological products.

The electronics sector’s output grew just 0.1 per cent last month from a high production base a year ago, EDB said. Electronics output in December had shrunk by 2.6 per cent.

Last month, the infocomms and consumer electronics segment recorded an output increase of 26.3 per cent, while other electronic modules and components production rose 19.5 per cent.

But semiconductors output dropped 0.9 per cent, while the computer peripherals and data storage segment saw a 4.8 per cent decline.

Meanwhile, the precision engineering industry saw output expand 11.6 per cent, less than the 17.6 per cent growth in December. 

The machinery and systems segment grew 20.5 per cent, on account of higher output of semiconductor equipment, machine tools and accessories, and measuring devices.

Conversely, the precision modules and components segment declined 5.7 per cent, with lower output of optical products.

Transport engineering output grew 16.2 per cent, after a 46.1 per cent expansion in December.

The aerospace segment was up 25.8 per cent, with a higher volume of maintenance, repair and overhaul work from commercial airlines on the back of the easing of global travel restrictions compared with a year ago.

The marine and offshore engineering segment rose 9.6 per cent, with a higher level of work done in shipbuilding and repairing activities.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.