Singapore non-oil exports surge 15.9% in June, beating forecasts

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, non-oil domestic exports rose by 6 per cent in June.
On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, non-oil domestic exports rose by 6 per cent in June.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) accelerated last month and at a pace faster than expected, aided by electronic and non-electronic shipments such as specialised machinery and petrochemicals.

Nodx surged 15.9 per cent from a low base a year ago, surpassing the 8.6 per cent gain in May. This also extended the positive growth trend seen since December last year, according to data released by government agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Friday (July 16).

Last month's year-on-year export growth was almost double the 8 per cent increase forecast by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, Nodx rose by 6 per cent last month, after the previous month's 0.2 per cent decline. It beat the 1 per cent gain tipped in the Bloomberg survey.

Electronic exports, on a year-on-year basis, expanded by 25.5 per cent last month, following the 11 per cent growth in May.

Personal computer shipments jumped by 130.2 per cent, integrated circuits rose by 14.9 per cent and diodes and transistors by 32.2 per cent.

Non-electronic shipments expanded by 13.2 per cent, following a 7.9 per cent growth in the previous month.

Specialised machinery shipments were up 43.2 per cent, while petrochemicals surged 51.2 per cent.

Nodx to Singapore's top 10 markets as a whole rose, though shipments to the United States, Japan and Malaysia declined.

The largest contributors to the rise in Nodx were China, up 27.6 per cent, the European Union (36.7 per cent) and Taiwan (41.4 per cent).

UOB Group economist Barnabas Gan said the expansion in Nodx was not just surprisingly high versus consensus estimates, but also came against a relatively strong performance in June last year.

Nodx in June last year grew 13.9 per cent year on year and 0.5 per cent on a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis.

“The continued expansion in overall exports and Nodx underline the continued recovery in global trade demand,” he said.

The strengthening of exports to Singapore’s key trading partners in Asia, led by China and Taiwan, also suggests that trade demand in the region as a whole has continued to stay buoyant, despite the recent rise in Covid-19 infections in several Asian economies, Mr Gan noted.

Dr Chua Hak Bin, chief economist at Maybank Kim Eng, raised his 2021 Nodx forecast to 9 per cent, from a previous projection of 5 per cent to 6 per cent, given the stronger than expected growth in the first half of the year of 9.9 per cent.

“Strong global demand for chips from data centres and 5G markets, as well as electronics products, will likely extend into the second half of the year,” he said.

Dr Chua said he expects ESG to upgrade its Nodx forecast, which is currently at 1 per cent to 3 per cent, during its quarterly update next month.