Singapore non-oil domestic exports rise at slower pace of 12.7% in July, still beating forecasts, Economy News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) rose better than expected last month, aided by electronic and non-electronic supplies such as specialty machinery, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals.

Nodx was up 12.7 percent year over year last month, after a 15.9 percent increase in June. This extends the positive growth trend since December last year, according to data released by the government agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Tuesday (August 17).

Last month’s year-over-year shipments exceeded the 12 percent growth forecast by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

On a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous month, however, Nodx lost 0.9 percent last month, after a plus of 6 percent in June. The Bloomberg poll had shown a decrease of 1.7 percent.

Electronics exports increased by 15 percent last month compared to the previous year, after a growth of 25.5 percent in June.

Electronics growth was led by personal computers, exports of which rose 83.2 percent. Shipments of integrated circuits rose 11.1 percent, while exports of diodes and transistors rose 29.7 percent.

Shipments of non-electronic products rose 12.1 percent last month, up from 13.2 percent in June.

Shipments of specialty machines rose 56.8 percent, pharmaceuticals by 48.3 percent and petrochemicals by 49.4 percent, making the biggest contributions to growth at Nodx.

ESG said exports of specialty machinery rose in line with robust global semiconductor demand, while pharmaceuticals rose from low levels a year ago. Meanwhile, petrochemicals expanded their gains last month after falling amid a global downturn in the same period last year.

Nodx among the top markets overall rose last month, although shipments to the US declined. The largest contribution to the rise in the Nodx last month came from China with an increase of 58.5 percent, the European Union (61.5 percent) and Taiwan (37 percent).

Eight months of uninterrupted year-on-year export growth supported the recent upgrade in ESG’s full-year export performance.

The agency said on Aug. 11 it now expects Nodx to grow 7 to 8 percent year over year in 2021, up from the 1 to 3 percent forecast published in May. That was the third upgrade this year.

Singapore also expects its economy to grow faster than previously forecast as vaccination picks up, allowing for more economic activity and fueling demand for goods and services domestically and in some of its key overseas markets.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry raised its forecast range for growth in gross domestic product for the year to 6 to 7 percent on August 11.

The new forecast compares to the previous full-year forecast of 4 to 6 percent, which was first made last November, and comes after Singapore started easing some of its Covid-19-related restrictions this week and the vaccination coverage rate topped 70 lay percent of the population.

Maybank Kim Eng economist Dr. Chua Hak Bin said he will keep his Nodx growth forecast at 9 percent for 2021 as exports are buoyed by robust demand for chips and related equipment in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, non-electronics, like petrochemicals, will continue to rise from last year’s low base, he said.

Dr. However, Chua warned of the downside risks to trade with Singapore as the Delta variant continues to enforce lockdowns in some parts of Asia, including China and the Asean region.

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