Singapore February Exports Surge 30.5% on Pharmaceuticals

Singapore’s exports rebounded in February as shipments of pharmaceuticals and electronics surged after a holiday in January reduced overseas sales.

Non-oil domestic exports increased 30.5 percent from a year earlier, after a revised 2.4 percent drop in January, the trade promotion agency said in a statement today. The median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 16.2 percent gain.

The numbers are distorted by the Lunar New Year holidays, which were in January this year and in the month of February in 2011, when factories from China to Vietnam typically shut and reduce production. A slowdown in China and Europe’s debt crisis are reducing demand for the region’s goods, forcing policy makers to evaluate whether to add stimulus to spur growth.

“After a seasonal decline due to the Lunar New Year in January, it is reasonable to assume a technical pickup in February,” Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. in Singapore, said before the report. “But frankly, the underlying story on the export front hasn’t changed much, that the sluggish global demand has not improved significantly over the past month.”

Singapore’s electronics shipments by companies such as contract manufacturer Venture Corp. rose 23.3 percent in February from a year earlier, after declining 10.9 percent the previous month.

Non-electronics shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, increased 34 percent. Petrochemicals exports decreased 5 percent, while pharmaceutical shipments grew 44.5 percent after climbing 20.2 percent in January.

Singapore’s non-oil exports increased a seasonally adjusted 6.2 percent last month from January, when they climbed a revised 0.5 percent, today’s report showed. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had predicted a 5 percent gain.

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