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Singapore's exports down 15.2% in Q2 2020, forecasts adjusted upwards

Singapore's exports down 15.2% in Q2 2020, forecasts adjusted upwards

A general view of ships docked at Tanjong Pagar container port in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Total merchandise trade in Singapore declined by 15.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, following a slight growth of 0.5 per cent in the previous quarter.

Official data by Enterprise Singapore also showed on Tuesday (Aug 11) that non-oil trade declined by 3.3 per cent, after the previous quarter’s 4.4 per cent increase.

Oil trade fell sharply in the second quarter, by 61.9 percent, compared to the 15.9% drop in the first quarter.

(Graphic: Enterprise Singapore)

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, total merchandise trade decreased by 14.3 per cent in Q2 2020, after the previous quarter’s 0.1 per cent growth. Non-oil trade declined by 7.7 per cent, while oil trade contracted by 50.6 per cent.

On a year-on-year basis, non-oil exports (NOX), which include both non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and non-oil re-exports (NORX), decreased y-o-y by 1.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, after the preceding quarter’s 3.8 per cent growth. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, NOX declined by 6.7 per cent, after the 2.3 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

NODX saw a year-on-year growth of 6.5 per cent, following a 5.4 per cent rise in the previous quarter. 

(Graphic: Enterprise Singapore)

Growth in NODX was largely due to non-electronics, said Enterprise Singapore.

Domestic exports of non-electronic products grew by 5.4 per cent over the year, following an increase of 7.7 per cent in the previous quarter. The largest contributors to the growth were non-monetary gold (+132.7 per cent), pharmaceuticals (+41.3 per cent) and specialised machinery (+28.1 per cent).

Domestic exports of electronic products grew by 10.6 per cent, after a 2.3 per cent decline in the previous quarter. The largest contributors to the growth were ICs (+20 per cent), disk media products (+46.7 per cent) and telecommunications equipment (+9.9 per cent).

(Graphic: Enterprise Singapore)

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, NODX declined by 2.4 per cent, after the 7.3 per cent growth in the previous quarter, as the decrease in non-electronic NODX outweighed the increase in electronics. Electronic domestic exports grew on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis by 2.8 per cent, following the previous quarter’s 9.1 per cent rise. Non-electronic NODX declined by 3.9 per cent, after the 6.9 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

The trade agency reported that NODX to all top markets grew as a whole in the second quarter - however, exports to China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand declined. The biggest contributors to the NODX growth were the US (+56.0 per cent), Japan (+75.8 per cent) and South Korea (+44.1 per cent).

NORX declined by 6.6 per cent, following a 2.8 per cent growth in the previous quarter. This is due to to lower shipment of non-electronics, while electronic re-exports grew.

(Graphic: Enterprise Singapore)

Electronic NORX rose by 7.4 per cent, after the 2.8 per cent growth in the previous quarter. This is due to higher re-exports of ICs (+8.8 per cent), diodes & transistors (+29.1 per cent) and parts of PCs (+5.6 per cent).

Non-electronic NORX contracted by 19 per cent, after the previous quarter’s 0.6 per cent decline. The decrease in non-electronic NORX was due to lower re-exports of piston engines (-81.0 per cent), aircraft parts (-39.4 per cent) and precious stones & pearls (-74.2 per cent).

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, NORX declined by 9.5 per cent in Q2 2020, except Hong Kong, the EU 27 and Taiwan. The biggest contributors to the NORX decrease in 2Q 2020 were Malaysia (-16.1 per cent), the US (-10.8 per cent) and Indonesia (-8.1 per cent).

NORX to the top markets as a whole declined in Q2 2020, except Hong Kong, the EU 27 and Taiwan. The biggest contributors to the NORX decrease were Malaysia (-16.1 per cent), the US (-10.8 per cent) and Indonesia (-8.1 per cent).

Total services trade contracted by 22 per cent, reaching S$107 billion in the second quarter of 2020, with the contraction of both services exports (-20.3 per cent) and imports (-24.1 per cent). This follows a 3.2 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

OIL TRADE

Oil trade contracted by 61.9 per cent amid lower oil prices than a year ago, following the 15.9 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, oil domestic exports contracted by 67.7 per cent in Q2 2020 amid lower oil prices than a year ago, following the 28.9 per cent decline in the previous quarter. 

In volume terms, oil domestic exports declined by 36.2 per cent, following the 13.9 per cent decrease in the previous quarter. 

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, oil domestic exports contracted by 48.5 per cent, following the 26.8 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, oil re-exports contracted by 27.5 per cent, after the 63.8 per cent expansion in the first quarter. 

In volume terms, oil re-exports rose by 44.6 per cent, following the 103.2 per cent expansion in the first quarter. 

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, oil re-exports declined by 23.2 per cent, after the previous quarter’s 1.5 per cent increase.

FORECASTS ADJUSTED UPWARDS

Forecasts have been adjusted upwards for both total merchandise trade (-10 per cent to -8 per cent) and NODX (3 per cent to 5 per cent), amid better-than-expected performance for specific products such as non-monetary gold, pharmaceuticals and electronics.

Although the global economic outlook remains uncertain, global trade is unlikely to reach the worst-case scenario of a 32 per cent contraction earlier projected by the World Trade Organization in April 2020, said Enterprise Singapore. 

It said this is due to rapid government responses tempering the sharp fall in the first half of 2020.

The growth of NODX in Q2 2020 was better than expected, said Enterprise Singapore, amid favourable sector-specific export and output trends. Besides non-monetary gold and pharmaceuticals, electronic domestic exports also grew, after declines in previous quarters.

Due to improved oil prices and upgraded oil forecasts, the 2020 growth projection is adjusted upwards to -10.0 per cent to -8.0 per cent for total trade and 3.0 per cent to 5.0 per cent for NODX.

Source: CNA/ic(ac)

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