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Singapore's manufacturing output down for 12th straight month in January

Manufacturing output fell 0.5 per cent year-on-year last month, according to data released by the Economic Development Board. 

SINGAPORE: Manufacturing output fell for a 12th consecutive month in January, with the largest decline in the output of the transport engineering cluster, according to data released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Friday (Feb 26).

On a year-on-year basis, Singapore’s manufacturing output dipped 0.5 per cent last month, extending the previous month's 11.9 per cent decline. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 7 per cent, improving from the 13 per cent decline the previous month.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output increased 9.3 per cent in January. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 4.4 per cent, said EDB.

TRANSPORT ENGINEERING LEADS DECLINE

The greatest decline in output was from the transport engineering cluster, which fell 23.3 per cent last month on a year-on-year basis. The cluster was weighed down by lower demand in the marine and offshore engineering segment (-29.7 per cent) on account of a lower level of rig-building activity and weaker demand for oilfield and gasfield equipment amidst the low oil price environment, EDB said. The aerospace and land transport segments fell 8.1 per cent and 17.9 per cent, respectively.

The next highest decline was from the precision engineering cluster, which saw output falling 8.4 per cent compared to the same month last year. The machinery and systems segment fell 1.2 per cent, due to weak export demand for semiconductor-related equipment and a low level of activity in mechanical engineering work. Precision modules and components segment contracted 17.3 per cent with lower production of optical instruments, industrial rubber and metal precision components.

The output of the general manufacturing cluster recorded a fall of 4.4 per cent on a year-on-year basis. The food, beverages and tobacco segment grew 2.7 per cent on the back of higher festive demand. In contrast, the miscellaneous industries and printing segments declined 8.9 per cent and 13.2 per cent, respectively, where the former was affected by lower production of metal tanks and containers and wooden furniture and fixtures.

The chemicals cluster’s output decreased 3.7 per cent year-on-year. The specialties (2.5 per cent) and other chemicals (0.8 per cent) segments grew while the petroleum (-8.0 per cent) and petrochemicals segments (-14.1 per cent) registered lower volume of production mainly due to plant maintenance shutdowns.

BIOMEDICAL MANUFACTURING CONTINUES EXPANSION

The biomedical manufacturing cluster continued its upward trend, registering an increase of 28.9 per cent compared to the same month last year. The medical technology segment grew 10.8 per cent, which was on the back of higher export demand for medical devices, while output of the pharmaceuticals segment increased 34.3 per cent, EDB said.

The electronics cluster also saw a year-on-year increase of 1.7 per cent in output in January, which was supported by higher output in the other electronic modules and components (13.1 per cent) and semiconductors (5.3 per cent) segments. The rest of the segments registered declines in their outputs, it added.