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Singapore Trade October 2018

Singapore: Export growth picks up pace in October despite another contraction in electronic exports

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) increased 8.3% year-on-year in October, up from September’s downwardly revised 8.1% expansion (previously reported: +8.3% year-on-year) and handsomely above market expectations of a tepid 1.0% expansion. On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, exports swung from a revised 4.4% contraction in September (previously reported: -4.3% month-on-month) to a 4.2% expansion in October.

October’s result was underpinned by soaring exports in pharmaceuticals; food preparations; and specialized machinery. This offset a sharp contraction in electronic products exports, which was chiefly due to marked drops in foreign demand for personal computers; diodes and transistors; and disk media products. This represents the 11th consecutive month of falling electronic exports. In terms of markets, demand from the EU, U.S. and Japan was particularly strong while demand from China dropped at a stronger rate than in September.

Trade data for October continued to underscore the fragility of Singapore’s export growth this year, as it has been supported by a narrow group of sub-sectors—particularly the volatile pharmaceuticals sub-sector. Moreover, demand from China is softening and the escalation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China poses a further downside risk to the country’s external sector.

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