SINGAPORE: Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rebounded by 6.8 per cent year-on-year in December, mainly due to a rise in shipments of non-electronic products such as specialised machinery and non-monetary gold. Electronics also grew from a low base a year ago.
This is the first positive print for NODX in three months and comes after a 5 per cent drop in November, official data from Enterprise Singapore showed on Monday (Jan 17).
Economists had expected a 0.3 per cent increase, Reuters reported.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports rose by 6.6 per cent in December, extending the previous month’s 3.7 per cent increase.
"December’s expansion of NODX does paint an optimistic backdrop for 2021," said UOB economist Barnabas Gan.
"Singapore’s position in producing and supplying biomedical products and supplies especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, will likely continue to lift overall manufacturing activities and support NODX into next year," he added.
INCREASE IN NON-ELECTRONIC SHIPMENTS
December's rebound was boosted by a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in the shipment of non-electronic goods. This compares with the 5.3 per cent decline for the segment in November.
Specialised machinery, which rose 30.9 per cent, was a major contributor to the increase, followed by non-monetary gold (14.5 per cent) and measuring instruments (21.4 per cent).
In the electronics segment, shipments rose 13.7 per cent year-on-year due to a low base in December 2019. This follows the 4 per cent decline in November.
Integrated circuits, personal computer parts and diodes and transistors contributed the most to December's shipments, rising by 15.7 per cent, 33.8 per cent and 16.5 per cent respectively.
SHIPMENTS BY COUNTRY BREAKDOWN
Exports to Singapore's top markets mostly rose in December, although exports to China, the European Union, Indonesia and Japan declined.
"The country breakdown of Singapore's December exports makes curious reading," said Mr Robert Carnell, ING's regional head of research for Asia-Pacific.
He noted that China, "despite its comparative global strength", was one of the weakest destinations, registering a 27.5 per cent year-on-year decline.
On the other hand, the US, reeling under COVID-19, registered a 52.5 per cent increase in shipments from Singapore following November's 9.5 per cent growth. December's growth was led by non-monetary gold, pharmaceuticals and measuring instruments.
"We probably need to see another month or two of this data to make sense of this directional curiosity," said Mr Carnell.
Exports to South Korea grew by 46.2 per cent in December after the 9.7 per cent decrease in November, mainly due to specialised machinery, measuring instruments and heating and cooling equipment.
Exports to Taiwan rose by 14.8 per cent in December, following the 8.7 per cent increase in the preceding month, due to integrated circuits, other specialty chemicals and structures of ships and boats.
Exports to emerging markets expanded by 28.3 per cent in December, after the 4 per cent decline in the previous month.
South Asia (47.5 per cent); Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (40.8 per cent); and Latin America (21.5 per cent) were the markets primarily responsible for this growth.
Total trade fell by 0.3 per cent in December on a year-on-year basis, following the 7.3 per cent decrease in the month before. This was mainly due to oil trade, which continued to decrease amid lower oil prices as compared to a year ago, though easing from the contraction in November.