Singapore factory output contracts for 1st time in a year with 3.1% drop in January

The last time manufacturing output fell year-on-year was in December 2017, when it it dropped 2.4 per cent.
The last time manufacturing output fell year-on-year was in December 2017, when it it dropped 2.4 per cent.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's manufacturing output slid by 3.1 per cent in January compared to last year, said the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday (Feb 26).

The last time manufacturing output fell year-on-year was in December 2017, with a drop of 2.4 per cent.

January's reading was on par with the decline predicted by economists in a Bloomberg poll.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell by a sharper 5.9 per cent in January.

January's output declined despite the boost from transport engineering, which registered growth of 20.2 per cent with all segments recording output increase. The marine and offshore engineering segment expanded 26.9 per cent. This was because of "a higher level of work done in offshore projects and shipbuilding and repairing," the EDB noted. The aerospace segment also grew 17.4 per cent with more repair and maintenance activities from commercial airlines.

Biomedical manufacturing also saw an increase in output of 10 per cent year-on-year. Pharmaceuticals output expanded 13.5 per cent with the higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products. Medical technology production also grew 1.5 per cent with sustained export demand.

The chemicals industry saw an uptick in growth, with 2 per cent increase compared to last year. The other chemicals segment expanded 18.2 per cent with more fragrances produced. However, petrochemicals production slid by 1.8 per cent.


On the other hand, the key electronics cluster saw output fall by 13.7 per cent in January, sharper than the 11.5 per cent drop in December. All segments, with the exception of the other electronic modules & components segment, contracted, led by a 20.4 per cent drop for infocomms & consumer electronics.

Precision engineering also saw a 15.7 per cent drop, with the machinery and systems segment falling by 20.8 per cent. This was due to the lower production of semiconductor equipment. The precision modules and components segment dipped 7.4 per cent because of the lower output of optical instruments and dies, moulds, tools, jigs and fixtures.

General manufacturing registered a rise of 3.2 per cent output year-on-year, with the miscellaneous industries segment growing 5.8 per cent with the higher production of batteries and structural metal products. The food, beverages and tobacco segment rose 4.6 per cent on the back of festive demand. However, printing fell 11.5 per cent in output.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output rose 0.9 per cent in January. But with more volatile biomedical manufacturing stripped out, output dipped 0.4 per cent.