Singapore exports post surprise decline
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