SINGAPORE: Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose by 18.4 per cent year-on-year in December 2021, marking the 13th straight month of growth.
The rise followed a decade record surge of 24.2 per cent in November.
Economists had expected a 13.8 per cent increase in December, according to the median of nine estimates reported by Reuters.
Both electronics and non-electronics exports grew in December last year, according to data released by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Monday (Jan 17).
On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, NODX increased by 3.7 per cent in December, following the previous month's 1 per cent growth.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, non-electronic NODX grew while electronics declined, with the level of NODX reaching S$17.1 billion in December, compared to November’s S$16.5 billion, ESG said.
Electronic exports recorded a 13.6 per cent increase in December, driven primarily by integrated circuits, personal computers and disk media products.
Shipments of non-electronic products grew by 19.9 per cent, led by pharmaceuticals, specialised machinery and petrochemicals.
ING senior economist Nicholas Mapa said: "The better-than-expected performance for NODX was tied to the 19.9 per cent growth of non-electronics products after pharmaceuticals grew by an outsized 72.3 per cent while petrochemical exports rose 28.4 per cent."
"The robust performance of NODX likely helped lift Singapore’s 4Q 2021 GDP," Mr Mapa added.
EXPORTS TO TOP MARKETS
“NODX to the top markets as a whole rose in December 2021, though NODX to the United States and South Korea declined,” ESG said.
The largest contributors to the rise were China, Indonesia and the 27 member states of the European Union.
Exports to China grew by 36.3 per cent due to pharmaceuticals, specialised machinery and petrochemicals.
Shipments to Indonesia expanded by 66.1 per cent in December, after the previous month's jump of 33.7 per cent. This was mainly due to non-monetary gold, petrochemicals and primary chemicals.
Exports to the EU 27 rose by 32.5 per cent due to specialised machinery, pharmaceuticals and primary chemicals.
Shipments to emerging markets grew by 38.8 per cent in December, building on the 54.1 growth in November. This growth was mainly due to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, the Middle East and Latin America.
Mr Mapa said that Singapore's NODX "will likely see some moderation in early 2022".
"The December NODX report indicated a slowdown in shipments to China and Taiwan while exports to Korea and the United States contracted by 16.4 per cent and 25.6 per cent, respectively," he said.
"The contraction in shipments to Korea and the US coincided with the slowdown in electronics shipments for the month. Should these trends persist into 2022, possibly due to the surge in COVID-19 cases across the globe, NODX growth could moderate to start the year."
On a year-on-year basis, total trade expanded by 31.4 per cent in December, extending the 31.3 per cent growth in the preceding month.
Total exports went up by 28 per cent, while total imports grew by 35.4 per cent.