Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

Singapore Exports Slump on Electronics Plunge

A surge in Singapore exports proved short-lived as a plunge in electronics orders put the brakes on goods flows in the trade-reliant country.

Non-oil domestic exports declined by 1.1 percent in September from a year earlier, the worst performance since December 2016, according to government data released Tuesday from International Enterprise Singapore.

Electronics products reversed their huge August gain, dropping by 7.9 percent year-on-year last month for the weakest since July 2016 as personal computers and diodes showed particular weakness.

Singapore had been enjoying an upturn in exports amid a global trade rebound that helped convince government officials to recently project a 2.5 percent growth performance for all of 2017. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, in a statement accompanying a decision Friday to maintain a neutral policy stance, said it expects growth to be slightly lower next year as the global recovery enters a “more mature” phase.

Underneath the headline numbers were big swings in several markets:

  • Malaysia proved an outlier among top markets, showing a 21.3 percent gain in non-oil exports, supported by a 46.6 percent surge among electronics
  • Hong Kong was among those showing big declines, with a 33.7 percent electronics decrease that washed away the previous month’s 30.2 percent gain in that sector
  • Also to blame was the pharmaceutical sector, which showed a 36 percent decline from September 2016, for the sixth consecutive year-over-year decrease
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