SINGAPORE - Factories - now the brightest spot in the Singapore economy - continued powering ahead last month as surging global demand for electronics once again helped lift growth.
Manufacturing output increased 14.6 per cent year-on-year in September, beating economists' expectations of a 10 per cent increase and following from a 19.5 per cent surge in August.
Manufacturing - making up a fifth of the economy and a key growth driver this year - is being lifted by strong global demand for semiconductors and related equipment.
Almost all manufacturing segments expanded in September, but electronics was once again the top performer - with output soaring 33.2 per cent from the same month last year, according to Economic Development Board (EDB) data out on Thursday (Oct 26).
Output of the precision engineering cluster - another beneficiary of the rise in global electronics demand - grew 15.4 per cent from a year earlier.
The traditionally-volatile biomedical manufacturing cluster's output grew 8 per cent, with both the medical technology and pharmaceuticals segments posting growth.
Excluding biomedical manufacturing, overall factory output would have grown 16.1 per cent year-on-year.
The transport engineering cluster's output decreased 10.8 per cent year-on-year, dragged down by the land transport and marine and offshore engineering segments. Marine and offshore engineering, which has been hit hard by low oil prices, shrank 26.7 per cent compared with the same month last year, recording lower levels of rig-building, shipbuilding and repair activities.
These declines were partially offset by the aerospace segment, which expanded 12.7 per cent.