Surge in electronics output sends Singapore's manufacturing up 6.2% in December

Singapore's manufacturing sector grew 6.2 per cent in December last year over the year before, boosted by a jump in electronics production.

November's factory production was also revised upwards, growing 6.6 per cent over the previous year instead of an earlier estimated 4 per cent, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Friday.

Output of electronics products surged 22.2 per cent last month over a year ago, according to EDB data.

In particular, the production of data storage and semiconductors climbed 32 per cent and 25.7 per cent respectively, partly due to a low base in December 2012 when demand for electronics was weak.

Most other manufacturing segments also ramped up production last month compared with a year ago. Transport engineering rose 13.8 per cent as more rigs and ships were built, while chemicals output increased 6.4 per cent on higher demand for specialty chemicals and greater production capacity for petrochemicals.

General manufacturing also climbed 2.7 per cent in the period, mainly due to higher production of confectionery products, batteries, and wooden furniture and fixtures, the EDB said.

But two key segments failed to keep up with the overall rising trend: biomedical manufacturing and precision engineering, which together account for three-tenths of Singapore's manufacturing sector.

Biomedical manufacturing production slumped 14.9 per cent last month over a year ago, as drugs output sank 21.2 per cent.

Excluding the biomedical segment, the manufacturing sector would have expanded at a faster pace of 12.1 per cent last month over the same month the previous year.

Precision engineering also slid 1.2 per cent in December, due to lower output of electronic connectors and dies, moulds, jigs & fixtures.

For the whole year, overall manufacturing output rose 1.7 per cent last year compared with 2012, the EDB said.

The sector grew 5.2 per cent in December over November, it added.