SINGAPORE: Production in Singapore's factories inched up 0.7 per cent in February 2019 from a year prior, according to data released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday (Mar 26).
Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell by 1.6 per cent in February. The cluster saw a 13.3 per cent increase, notably with the pharmaceuticals segment expanding 17.9 per cent.
Expansions of between 2.0 per cent and 4.2 per cent were also observed in the transport engineering, general manufacturing and chemicals clusters.
Manufacturing growth, however, was moderated by decreases in precision engineering and electronics, whose outputs fell by 14.9 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.
The lacklustre performance in the precision engineering cluster was driven by lower production of semiconductor equipment, leading to a 27.8 per cent fall in the machinery and systems segment.
The three-month moving average ending February rose 0.7 per cent from a year prior.
Adjusting for seasonal fluctuations, February’s output was 4.1 per cent less than January’s – or 0.1 per cent less when not accounting for biomedical manufacturing.
"This reinforces our lacklustre view of the manufacturing momentum for Q1 2019 in light of the dampened global growth prospects and the lingering US-China trade tensions," said OCBC Bank’s head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling.
She expected first quarter manufacturing output to drop by 0.5 per cent from a year prior, with GDP growth at 2.2 per cent.
"Recall that the manufacturing and electronics PMIs (Purchasing Managers’ Index) softened further to 50.4 and 49.5 (fourth month of contraction) in February, mostly in line with global and regional manufacturing PMI prints," Ms Ling added.
"Looking forward, the road still looks challenging for the domestic manufacturing sector."