Singapore: Export growth slackens in August
Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) increased 5.0% in August in annual terms, down from July’s revised 11.0% expansion (previously reported: +11.8% yoy) but overshooting market expectations. On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, exports rose 0.4%, down from July’s 3.6% expansion.
August’s figure was once more supported by surging pharmaceutical exports, along with greater exports of prepared food and measuring instruments, and stronger demand from the U.S, the EU and Indonesia. On the other hand, the important electronic sector saw exports decline year-on-year for the ninth consecutive month. After being a major driver of export growth for much of 2017 thanks to booming world trade, the performance of electronic exports so far in 2018 is being affected in part by tough year-on-year comparatives.
Recent export growth has been underpinned by a narrow group of sub-sectors—particularly the volatile pharmaceuticals sub-sector—meaning a further slowdown in export growth is possible going forward. Softening Chinese demand and the potential for an escalation of the tariff war between the U.S. and China are key downside risks to Singapore’s export performance.