Singapore imports and exports rise last year; 2022 trade growth expected to moderate in line with global outlook
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s total merchandise trade increased by 19.7 per cent last year, rebounding from contractions in 2020 and 2019, supported by both oil trade amid higher oil prices than a year ago as well as non-oil trade.
Total merchandise trade reached S$1.2 trillion last year, compared with S$969 billion in 2020 and S$1 trillion in 2019, said Enterprise Singapore in a media release on Thursday (Feb 17).
Enterprise Singapore attributed the increase in total merchandise trade to both oil and non-oil trade: Oil trade rose by 43.6 per cent in 2021 after contracting 31 per cent the previous year, while non-oil trade grew by 15.9 per cent last year, following the 0.7 per cent increase in 2020.
In the fourth quarter alone, total merchandise trade grew by 28.8 per cent year-on-year, expanding from the previous quarter's 19 per cent increase. This was on the back of an 86.1 per cent jump in oil trade in the fourth quarter and a 20.8 per cent rise in non-oil trade.
Exports and imports increased by 19.1 per cent and 20.4 per cent respectively in 2021.
Non-oil exports (NOX), which include both non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and non-oil re-exports (NORX), rose by 16.5 per cent in 2021, following the preceding year’s 1.7 per cent growth.
NODX also expanded in 2021, due to higher shipments of both electronic and non-electronic products.
Overall, NODX rose 12.1 per cent last year, following a 4.3 per cent growth in the previous year.
Demand for electronic products grew last year, bumping shipments up 16.3 per cent and accelerating from the 4.9 per cent growth in 2020. Integrated circuits, PCs and diodes & transistors contributed the most to the growth.
Demand for non-electronic products was also strong, with shipments rising by 10.9 per cent in 2021, after growing 4.1 per cent in 2020. The largest contributors to the increase in non-electronic NODX were specialised machinery, petrochemicals and primary chemicals.
In the fourth quarter alone, NODX expanded by 20.1 per cent year-on-year, compared with the previous quarter's 9 per cent rise.
Singapore's NODX to its top markets generally increased, mainly due to China, Taiwan and South Korea. Exports to US, Japan and the EU 27 fell.
Oil domestic exports grew in nominal terms in 2021 amid higher oil prices than a year ago, said Enterprise Singapore.
Oil domestic exports expanded by 38 per cent last year, rebounding from a 28.1 per cent contraction in 2020. This was due to higher shipments of oil to Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.
In volume terms, oil domestic exports declined by 10.2 per cent in 2021, after the 3.6 per cent growth in 2020.
OUTLOOK FOR 2022
Looking ahead, Enterprise Singapore said it expects higher oil prices to support oil trade and in turn total trade this year.
However, the pace of growth is expected to moderate from the high base in 2021, in line with the global economic and trade outlook.
It maintained 2022 growth projections for both total merchandise trade and NODX at 0 per cent to +2 per cent.
In a separate release on January's data, Enterprise Singapore said that total trade rose by 25 per cent, down from the 31.4 per cent expansion in the preceding month.
January's NODX rose 17.6 per cent, easing from the 18.4 per cent growth in December.
In January, shipments of electronic products expanded by 14 per cent year-on-year, compared with a 13.6 per cent rise in the previous month.
Shipments of non-electronic products, however, eased slightly to end the month up 18.6 per cent, compared with 19.9 per cent in December.