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Singapore's manufacturing output up 21.7% in March, 'more pronounced' impact from COVID-19 expected next month

Singapore's manufacturing output up 21.7% in March, 'more pronounced' impact from COVID-19 expected next month

File photo of workers labelling healthcare products at a production line in a company in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's manufacturing output was up 21.7 per cent in March after recording its biggest contraction since 1983 in February, according to data from the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Friday (Apr 24). 

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, Singapore's manufacturing output plunged more than 20 per cent in February as the COVID-19 pandemic deepened, adding to a grim economic outlook for the trade-reliant hub. 

In its media release, EDB said manufacturing output in March "had not been significantly impacted by COVID-19". 

"More pronounced impact is likely to be seen from April 2020 onwards due in part to the implementation of the 'circuit breaker' measures".  

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, output increased 21.7 per cent in March. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 2.5 per cent, data showed. 

READ: Immediate measures needed to slow COVID-19 even if they take short-term toll on economy: DPM Heng

The biomedical manufacturing sector posted the largest increase at 91.4 per cent in March compared to the same period last year. 

Pharmaceuticals output increased 126.6 per cent on the back of higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products, while the medical technology segment rose 6.3 per cent with higher export demand for medical devices.

Precision engineering also expanded at 21.2 per cent last month compared to a year ago. 

"The cluster’s growth was largely attributed to the machinery and systems segment which grew 28.7 per cent on account of higher production of semiconductor equipment," said EDB.

READ: Singapore's economy contracts by 2.2% in Q1 as COVID-19 outbreak hits construction, services sectors

Transport engineering output rose by 7.6 per cent, supported by higher levels of repair and maintenance activities from commercial airlines. The marine and offshore engineering segment however fell 0.7 per cent due to lower level of work done in offshore projects.

Chemicals output grew 0.8 per cent year-on-year in March. 

For general manufacturing, output decreased 7.9 per cent in March on a year-on-year basis, with all segments recording output declines. 

The miscellaneous industries, printing, as well as food, beverage and tobacco segments contracted 5.2 per cent, 7.7 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively.

Electronics output decreased 9.2 per cent in March on a year-to-year-basis, with all segments within the cluster recording declines. 

The next monthly manufacturing performance media release will be issued on May 26. 

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the month-on-month March manufacturing output figure instead of the year-on-year data. This is for a more accurate comparison with February's output. 

Source: CNA/ad(hs)


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