SINGAPORE: The country’s non-oil domestic exports declined by 20.7 per cent last month, a steeper fall than analysts had earlier predicted and the biggest decline since January 2023. Non-electronics exports were a large contributor to the decline.

However, while Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports to its top markets, especially the United States, the European Union, and Japan, fell, they increased to other markets, namely China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In contrast, non-oil domestic exports only declined by 0.2 per cent in February this year.

The 20.7 per cent decline in non-oil domestic exports defied the prediction of economists surveyed by Reuters, who had predicted a 7 per cent decline.

Moreover, economists forecast a 4.5 per cent decline month over month, while the actual fall is 8.4 per cent. Non-electronic exports fell by 23.2 per cent, while electronic exports declined by 9.4 per cent.

Pharmaceutical exports broke a five-month growth streak with a sharp decline of 70.3 per cent. In addition, ship and boat structures exports fell by an even sharper 99.8 per cent.

See also  NODX fell 20.7% y-o-y in March, but export decline doesn't reflect global demand conditions

The decline in electronic exports came after two successive months of expansion, with growth of 0.6 percent in January and 5.2 percent in February.

The fall can be attributed to the 38.8 per cent decline in telecommunications equipment, 11 per cent decline in diodes and transistors, and 8 per cent decline in integrated circuits or semiconductors.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the total amount for non-oil domestic exports was S$13 billion, said Enterprise Singapore, the government agency that releases the country’s monthly trade statistics.

This amount is lower than February’s total of S$14.2 billion, which had come in lower than the 2023 average of S$14.5 billion.

Additionally, after a total trade increase of 3.5 per cent in February, the country saw a decrease of 1.8 per cent year-on-year last month, with exports declining by 3.4 per cent and imports falling by 0.1 per cent.

However, “The export contraction in March was consistent with the slower-than-expected Ministry of Trade and Industry flash estimate of Q1 gross domestic product, which implied that manufacturing output fell 1.6 per cent in March.

See also  Singapore's NODX recorded 1% growth, first time in 14 months

The Red Sea tensions may have been a speed bump to the manufacturing and export recovery,” Maybank economists Chua Hak Bin and Brian Lee were quoted as saying in The Business Times on Apr 17./TISG

Read also: Non-oil domestic exports in February slipped by 0.1% YoY, declined 4.8% MoM