Based on the recent data of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the country’s total merchandise trade jumped to 9.2% or about $1.1 trillion in 2018.
This was a milestone for Singapore since 2014 despite weaker growth rate in 2018 compared to the previous year’s 11.1%.
As cited in the 2018 review, there were notable increases in Singapore’s exports (7.9%) and imports (10.6%). Despite oil hikes, trade increased to 16.8% in 2018 while the non-oil trade went up to 7.3%.
In terms of non-oil domestic exports (NODX), it climbed to 4.2% in 2018, after the 8.8% increase in the previous year. More exports of non-electronic NODX at 9.2% exceeded the plunge in electronics at -5.5%.
Domestic exports of electronic products (comprising 26% of NODX) declined by 5.5% in 2018, after the previous year’s 8% growth. Parts of personal computers (PC), integrated circuits (IC), and diodes & transistors declined by 28.7%, 3.7%, and 21.8% respectively, contributing the most to the decrease in electronic NODX.
In 2018, local exports of non-electronic products increased by 8.2% compared to the past year’s 9.2% performance. Citing the biggest contributors to the increase in non-electronic NODX involved food preparations (+109.1%), pharma products (+24.4%), and non-electric engines and motors (+64.3%).
For non-oil re-exports (NORX), it registered an 8.1% growth in 2018, higher than the 5.5% increase in the previous year.
Electronic re-exports posted a 1.9% increase in 2018, after the 7.5% growth in 2017. Other products with higher re-exports were ICs (+3.2%), telecommunications devices (+10.3%), and capacitors (+24.6%).
With regard to non-electronic NORX, it rose to 14.4% in 2018, higher than the previous year’s 3.5% growth. On higher re-exports were non-electric engines and motors (+85.5%), aircraft equipment (+23.6%), and health and beauty items (+29.6%).
For non-oil exports (NOX), covering both NODX and NORX, it posted a growth of 6.5% in 2018, after the 6.8% record high in 2017.
In 2018, Singapore’s NODX to the overall key partners increased. High growth was brought by the U.S. (+38.2%), the EU 28 (+15.7%), Japan (+11.4%), and Indonesia (+11.3%). Countries with declining NODX included China (-8.8%), South Korea (-17.6%), Hong Kong (-3.9%), Taiwan (-4.5%), Malaysia (-0.9%), and Thailand (-1.3%).
ESG suggested that pharma industries and the manufacturing sector should intensify exports in 2019. It noted the overall, total trade and NODX increase have been forecast to moderate in 2019, to meet the past year’s rapid growth.
The country’s major trade partners like China, ASEAN-5, the Eurozone, the US, and NIEs are set to show positive signs of grow. As observed, there will be moderate pacing based on 2017 and 2018 performance.
ESG cited the downside risks such as the negative implications of the tariff increases between the US and China, dwindling growth, and stiffer financial situations that impact global growth and trade flows. Meanwhile, as seen in the last update the oil prices decreased.
In Singapore’s services trade, it grew to 2.3% and achieved $500.4 billion in 2018. An increase in services exports (4.1%) and imports (0.6%) was recorded.
The good performance in the services exports was brought by better receipts from other business services (+5.5%), transport services (+2.4%), and financial services (+3.8%).
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