Singapore non-oil exports disappoint with 3.3% year-on-year fall in November

Stacked containers sit among gantry cranes at Tanjong Pagar Container Terminal.
Stacked containers sit among gantry cranes at Tanjong Pagar Container Terminal. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - The gloom surrounding Singapore's trade picture darkened in November, with non-oil domestic exports (NODX) falling 3.3 per cent year-on-year, as a contraction in non-electronic shipments outweighed the slight increase in electronic NODX.

November's NODX was expected to have edged up 1.5 per cent from a year earlier, helped by a comparison against a low base, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

On a year-on-year basis, NODX to all of the Singapore's top 10 markets - except the US, Japan, Thailand and South Korea - contracted in November 2015, according to the figures from trade agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore on Thursday (Dec 16).

The top contributors to the November's decline were China, Malaysia and the European Union.

In October, NODX contracted 0.5 per cent year-on-year after a 0.3 per cent expansion in the previous month.

On a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis, NODX in November shrank by 3.8 per cent, following October's 0.3 per cent decrease. Economists had expected exports to inch up 0.1 per cent.

Weak global growth, particularly a slowdown in China, has weighed on factories in Singapore and non-oil domestic exports.

A survey of manufacturing activity released earlier this month showed that activity in Singapore factories shrank in November for a fifth straight month as uneven global growth continued to hurt new orders.

The latest trade figures showed that non-electronic NODX contracted by 5.1 per cent in November, compared to the 1.4 per cent rise in the previous month. The decline was led by pharmaceuticals (-12.5 per cent), structural parts (-91.3 per cent) and food preparations (-24.6 per cent).

Electronic NODX grew by 0.7 per cent in November, in contrast to the 3.2 per cent decrease in the previous month. The growth was largely due to telecommunications equipment (+41.4 per cent), other computer peripherals (+80.0 per cent) and diodes & transistors (+6.5 per cent).

NODX to China declined by 9.1 per cent in November 2015, following the previous month's decrease of 8.7 per cent, led by food preparations (-86.4 per cent), primary chemicals (-52.1 per cent) and structural parts (-99.8 per cent).

NODX to Malaysia contracted by 8.9 per cent after a 5.7 per cent decline in the preceding month, due to petrochemicals (-28.9 per cent), parts of PCs (-36.4 per cent) and civil engineering equipment parts (-64.4 per cent).

NODX to the EU 28 fell by 6.2 per cent, in contrast to the 1.0 per cent increase in October, due to pharmaceuticals (-13.9 per cent), ICs (-35.9 per cent) and diodes & transistors (-42.3 per cent).