Singapore: Non-oil exports plunge in March at the sharpest rate in over two years
Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) decreased by 11.7% year-on-year in March, contrasting February’s short-lived 4.8% increase (previously reported: +4.9% year-on-year). March’s fall significantly undershot market analysts’ expectations and meant that NODX in Q1 as a whole contracted at the sharpest rate in three years. On a month-on-month seasonally-adjusted basis, NODX swung to a 14.3% contraction in March from February’s 16.0% climb.
March’s result was underpinned by a 26.7% fall in electronic NODX, compared to the 8.2% drop registered in February. Meanwhile, non-electronic NODX fell 7.0% in March, contrasting February’s 9.4% jump. The reversal in non-electronic NODX was largely driven by a noteworthy contraction in the volatile pharmaceutical sector. In terms of markets, NODX to Japan abated the most, followed by Taiwan and South Korea.
Commenting on March’s print, Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal, economists at ING, stated:
“Data reinforces a sharp slowdown in GDP growth in 1Q19 revealed by the advance estimate last week. It also validates the MAS’s decision to leave the policy on hold. With the balance of economic risks tilted toward growth, the next move in the MAS policy could be an easing.”