SINGAPORE - Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) in September slipped 1.1 per cent from a year earlier, breaking four straight months of growth, as electronics shipments surprisingly turned negative.
Exports in September were expected to have risen 12.7 per cent from a year earlier, according to the median forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg.
The September reversal reflected the decrease in electronic exports off the high base a year ago, while non-electronics continued growth at a moderated pace, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore said in the trade report it released on Tuesday (Oct 17).
The drop in September came after shipments rose 16.7 per cent in August, revised slightly down from an initial estimate of 17 per cent growth.
Year on year, electronic exports fell 7.9 per cent in September, after the 20.8 per cent expansion in the previous month. The drop was led by PCs, ICs and diodes and transistors which decreased by 17.6 per cent, 4.1 per cent and 18.1 per cent respectively.
Non-electronic sales rose by 1.9 per cent, dropping from a 15 per cent expansion in August. Non-monetary gold, petrochemicals and specialised machinery increased by 70.2 per cent, 11.6 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively, contributing the most to the growth here.
On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, Nodx declined by 11 per cent in September, after the previous month's 4.2 per cent rise, due to the decline in both electronic and non-electronic exports.
Shipments reached $13.1 billion last month, lower than the $14.7 billion in August, although on par with the $13.0 billion a year ago.
Nodx to Singapore's top 10 markets increased in September, except for Hong Kong, the European Union and Thailand. The largest contributors were Malaysia (+21.3 per cent), China (+9.6 per cent) and Japan (+18.1 per cent).
Singapore and other Asian economies that are highly dependent on trade have been getting a big export boost this year from an improvement in global demand, particularly for electronics products and components such as semiconductors.
Analysts had expected exports to taper off - but not so soon - tipping shipments to start declining in the fourth quarter of 2017 or first quarter of next year, on the back of a downswing in the global tech cycle.
Advance data out last week showed Singapore's economy grew 4.6 per cent in the third quarter, the highest growth in more than three years and much better than expected, on the back of strong electronics manufacturing, but analysts have said the growth numbers will start to moderate next year.