Sin­ga­pore ex­ports post sur­prise de­cline

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

SIN­GA­PORE: Sin­ga­pore’s non-oil ex­ports un­ex­pect­edly fell from a year ear­lier in March as elec­tron­ics fell for the fourth con­sec­u­tive month, of­fi­cial data showed yes­ter­day.

Ex­ports fell 2.7% in March from a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to trade agency In­ter­na­tional En­ter­prise Sin­ga­pore, a slower de­cline than the re­vised 6.0 con­trac­tion the month be­fore but worse than the 0.2% in­crease pre­dicted by economists in a Reuters poll.

Elec­tron­ics ex­ports fell again in March at 7.1% year-on-year, but im­proved from the 12.7% con­trac­tion in the month ear­lier.

“It could be be­cause of spillover from Chi­nese New Year when they shut down fac­to­ries for two weeks in Fe­bru­ary,” Se­lena Ling, chief econ­o­mist at OCBC bank said. How­ever, she noted the con­tin­ued de­cline of elec­tron­ics is “dis­con­cert­ing”.

The global ex­ports boom has ben­e­fited Sin­ga­pore and other trade-de­pen­dent Asian economies in the past year, par­tic­u­larly for mak­ers of elec­tron­ics prod­ucts and com­po­nents such as semi­con­duc­tors, but growth has started to mod­er­ate this year.

Ling said the Sin­ga­pore cen­tral bank’s re­cent pol­icy tight­en­ing and the gov­ern­ment main­tain­ing growth pro­jec­tions for this year in the up­per half of its 1.5-3.5% growth fore­cast range show pol­i­cy­mak­ers re­main con­fi­dent about he out­look.

Full-year eco­nomic growth hit a 3-year high in 2017, thanks to its elec­tron­ics pro­duc­tion. The Mone­tary Au­thor­ity of Sin­ga­pore tight­ened pol­icy for the first time in six years at its semi-an­nual meet­ing last week.

The city-state’s econ­omy is ex­pected to con­tinue grow­ing steadily even as it ac­knowl­edged risks from a trade spat be­tween the United States and China. – Reuters

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