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Singapore Trade Balance April 2020

Singapore: Non-oil exports overshoot market expectations in April

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew 9.7% year-on-year in April, below March’s notable 17.6% expansion which benefited from a positive base effect. April’s reading notably outshot market expectations which had projected a contraction amid stunted external demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

April’s better-than-expected reading was driven by surging pharmaceutical exports, which shot up over 150% and partly benefited from a low base last year. Meanwhile, signs of weak external demand amid the health crisis was still evident with electronics exports swinging to contraction and oil domestic exports (which are not included in the headline figure) falling due to historically low prices as well as following volume.

In terms of markets, exports to the U.S. and the EU 27 shot up in April, while shipments to Malaysia, Indonesia and China fell.

In month-on-month terms, NODX exports plunged 5.8% in April, contrasting the 12.8% increase seen in March. April’s reading marked the largest contraction since March 2019.

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