Singapore: Non-oil exports recover in February, but outlook clouded by the coronavirus
Singapore’s external sector recovered in February from a poor start to the year, with non-oil domestic exports (NODX) expanding 3.0% year-on-year, contrasting the 3.3% drop recorded in January. However, sequential data painted a different picture as exports fell 4.8% month-on-month in February (January: +4.5% month-on-month), the steepest drop in eight months and likely influenced by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The annual rise in exports came on the back of non-electronic goods, with strong growth in outbound shipments of specialized machinery, pharmaceuticals and non-electric engines and motors. Electronic exports also rose in February owing to robust growth in exports of disk media products; capacitors; and parts of ICs.
In terms of markets, demand from the European Union, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan strengthened while demand from Hong Kong and China plummeted. Both developments were likely heavily influenced by the coronavirus wreaking havoc in China in the month.
Looking ahead, the global spread of the coronavirus is expected to weigh on Singaporean exports in the months ahead with drastic measures in the European Union depressing demand from the single-currency bloc, while the coronavirus continues to impact the Chinese economy too.