SINGAPORE: Total merchandise trade fell by 6.3 per cent in the third quarter from the same period last year, following the slightly-revised 15.3 per cent decline in the previous quarter, said Enterprise Singapore on Monday (Nov 23).
The decline in oil trade outweighed the growth in non-oil trade.
Amid lower oil prices compared to a year ago, oil trade fell 39.5 per cent in the quarter ended Sep 30, easing from the 61.9 per cent contraction in the previous quarter.
Non-oil trade grew by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter, after the previous quarter's 3.5 per cent decrease.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, total merchandise trade rose by 7.5 per cent in the third quarter, after the previous quarter's 14.4 per cent contraction.
Oil and non-oil trade grew by 38.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively.
Non-oil exports, which include non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and non-oil reexports (NORX) rose by 2.8 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, after the second quarter's 1.9 per cent decrease.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, it increased by 5.9 per cent in the third quarter, following the 7.0 per cent decline in the previous quarter.
NODX grew by 6.5 per cent in the third quarter from the same period last year, higher than the previous quarter’s 5.9 per cent rise
The growth was driven by expansion in non-electronic exports, notably non-monetary gold and specialised machinery.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, NODX grew by 1.4 per cent in the third quarter, following the 3.0 per cent decline the second quarter.
Growth was achieved as the increase in non-electronic NODX outweighed the decline in electronics.
Exports of non-electronic products, comprising 77 per cent of total NODX, grew by 5.7 per cent over the year in the third quarter. This followed a 4.6 per cent rise in the second quarter.
Among non-electronic goods, non-monetary gold grew at the highest rate at 87.8 per cent, followed by specialised machinery (40.1 per cent) and food preparations (14.4 per cent).
Electronic exports expanded 9.5 per cent in the third quarter, lower than the 10.6 per cent growth recorded in the previous quarter.
The largest contributions for the increase in electronic NODX came from integrated circuits, disk media products and telecommunications equipment, growing by 12.0 per cent, 16.5 per cent and 14.8 per cent respectively.
NODX to the top 10 markets grew in the third quarter, though exports to Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand fell.
The biggest contributors to the NODX growth were the US (42.6 per cent), the EU 27 (28.5 per cent) and China (8.3 per cent).
2020 TRADE TO REMAIN SUBDUED, SOME IMPROVEMENT NEXT YEAR
While total trade performed "slightly better than expected" in the third quarter, the overall figure for the year is expected to decline, said Enterprise Singapore, because of lower oil trade and weaker demand than a year ago.
However, Enterprise Singapore adjusted forecasts for total trade (-7.5 per cent to -7 per cent) and NODX (4 per cent to 4.5 per cent) upwards for 2020.
For 2021, growth projections are at 1 per cent to 3 per cent for total merchandise trade and 0 per cent to 2 per cent for NODX.
The improved outlook came after a slightly rosier outlook for the global economy and trade for the rest of 2020 since the last update.
"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded the 2020 global economic growth forecast to -4.4 per cent, as economies tentatively reopened," said Enterprise Singapore.
"The growth outlook for some of Singapore’s key trade partners such as China, the US, Euro Area and Japan were adjusted upwards.
"On the trade front, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) revised the 2020 world merchandise trade volume growth upwards to -9.2 per cent, from the earlier -12.9 per cent forecast."