Singapore manufacturing outperforms with 19.1% surge in August as electronics continue to soar

Employees work at a production line at an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore.
Employees work at a production line at an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The brightest spot in the Singapore economy continued shining last month as surging global demand for electronics once again helped lift factory output in August.

Manufacturing output increased 19.1 per cent year-on-year in August, beating economists' expectations of a 16 per cent increase and following from a 21 per cent surge in July.

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 last month, but electronics was once again the top performer - with output soaring 38.7 per cent last month from the same period last year, according to Economic Development Board data out on Tuesday (Sept 26).

Output of the precision engineering cluster - another beneficiary of the rise in global electronics demand - grew 10.7 per cent in August compared with the same month a year earlier.

The traditionally-volatile biomedical manufacturing cluster's output grew 25.1 per cent, with both the medical technology and pharmaceuticals segments posting robust growth.

Leaving aside biomedical manufacturing, overall factory output would have grown 17.8 per cent year-on-year.

The transport engineering cluster's output increased 5.5 per cent, thanks largely to land transport and aerospace, though the marine and offshore engineering segment remained weak, declining 15.8 per cent.

The chemicals cluster also grew, while output from general manufacturing industries dipped 0.6 per cent.