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Singapore's exports rise 7.7% in August, higher than forecasts

Singapore's exports rise 7.7% in August, higher than forecasts

A ferry boat sails past a container vessel docking at a port in Singapore on Aug 17, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose 7.7 per cent from a year earlier, beating forecasts, official data showed on Thursday (Sep 17), helped by items such as non-monetary gold and specialised machinery.

Economists had forecast a 3.7 per cent increase for August, according to the median of eight estimates.

August's exports also compared with a revised 5.9 per cent increase in July, Enterprise Singapore said in a statement. July's exports were similarly boosted by gold and specialised machinery shipments, as well as pharmaceuticals and electronics. 

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports expanded 10.5 per cent in August after a 1.2 per cent rise in the previous month. Economists had forecast a 0.9 per cent rise.

NODX in August reached S$15.6 billion, higher than the S$14.1 billion in July.


Electronic exports rose 5.7 per cent in August from the same period last year, after growing 2.8 per cent the previous month. Integrated circuits (IC), disk media products and personal computers (PC) contributed the most to the growth.

Non-electronic NODX expanded 8.3 per cent in August, following the 6.9 per cent in July.

Shipments of non-monetary gold rose 55.1 per cent in August from a year earlier. Singapore is a big regional player in the gold trade, and exports can be affected by sharp swings in value.

Other than gold, specialised machinery (25.7 per cent) and food preparations (18.9 per cent) contributed the most to the growth of non-electronic NODX.

Overall NODX to the top markets grew in August, though exports to Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand declined. The largest contributors to the growth were China, the EU 27 (excluding Britain) and the US.

NODX to emerging markets declined by 1.4 per cent in the same period, after contracting 22 per cent the month before. The decline was mainly attributed to the Caribbean, the Middle East and South Asia.

Non-oil re-exports (NORX) inched up 0.1 per cent in August, after a 3.1 per cent decline in July. The growth in electronic re-exports outweighed the decline for non-electronics.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, NORX expanded 10.0 per cent month-on-month in August, after dropping 2.1 per cent in July. Both electronics and non-electronics NORX grew.

The NORX figure reached S$23.9 billion in August 2020, higher than the S$21.7 billion in July.

READ: Retrenchments in Singapore spike in first half of the year, surpassing SARS peak - MOM


Oil domestic exports plunged 49 per cent in August amid lower oil prices, after falling 50.9 per cent in the preceding month. Lower exports to Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong contributed to the contraction.

In terms of volume, oil domestic exports contracted by 28.0 per cent in August, after declining 26.5 per cent in July.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, oil domestic exports rose by 2.3 per cent month-on-month in August, after growing 15.1 per cent in July.

Commentary: Oil set for a long and rocky road to recovery

Due to the falling oil trade, total trade fell by 6.9 per cent in August from the same period last year, after a 9.0 per cent decline in July. Total exports decreased by 4.7 per cent in August, while total imports declined by 9.4 per cent in the same period.

Adjusting for seasonal changes, total trade rose 6.4 per cent month-on-month in August, after increasing 2.4 per cent the previous month. Total exports and imports grew 9.5 per cent and 3.1 per cent in August, respectively.

August's total trade figure reached S$80.5 billion, higher than July's S$75.7 billion.

Source: CNA/reuters/jt


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