Manufacturing output drops 0.4% on lower drugs production

SINGAPORE'S factories produced less than expected last month, largely due to a sharp fall in pharmaceutical output.

The manufacturing sector shrank 0.4 per cent in January from a year ago, after contracting 0.6 per cent in December, according to the latest data from the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Output was dragged down by drugs producers, who cranked out 20 per cent fewer active pharmaceutical ingredients in the month, the agency said.

Stripping out the biomedical cluster, which includes drugs output, overall manufacturing would have grown by 3.3 per cent last month, said the EDB.

That would still have come in below economists' forecast of a 5 per cent expansion.