Singapore’s January Exports Rise Less Than Estimated on Drugs

Singapore’s exports rose less than estimated in January as manufacturers shipped fewer electronics and pharmaceutical goods.

Non-oil domestic exports gained 0.5 percent from a year earlier, after a 16.3 percent drop in December, the trade promotion agency said in a statement today. The median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 3 percent increase.

“It’s still looking a little bit subdued” outside of China, Euben Paracuelles, an economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Singapore, said before the report. The U.S. economy is still weak and Europe remains in a recession, he said.

Singapore’s export-dependent economy has been constrained by faltering global demand as U.S. lawmakers wrangle over tax and spending programs and Europe struggles with a debt crisis. The government forecasts exports will rise 2 percent to 4 percent in 2013, restrained by an uneven world recovery.

Data for overseas shipments and industrial production in Singapore for January and February may be distorted by the Chinese New Year holidays. Asian nations celebrated the Lunar New Year in January in 2012 and observed it in February this year, and factories from China to Vietnam typically shut and reduce production during the holiday.

The Singapore dollar was little changed at S$1.2385 against the U.S. currency as of 8:16 a.m. local time. It has dropped about 1.4 percent this year.

Singapore’s electronics shipments by companies such as Venture Corp. fell 5.6 percent in January from a year earlier, after slipping 19.1 percent the previous month.

Non-electronics shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, climbed 3.8 percent last month from the previous year. Petrochemical exports increased 28.2 percent, while pharmaceutical shipments fell 22.9 percent after sliding 11.5 percent in December.

Singapore’s non-oil exports dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent last month from December, when they fell a revised 4.2 percent, today’s report showed.

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