SINGAPORE: Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose more than expected in July from a year earlier thanks to a surge in pharmaceutical shipments, official data showed on Friday (Aug 17).
Exports rose 11.8 per cent in July year-on-year, data from the trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed, accelerating from the revised 0.8 per cent rise the month before.
This was better than the 6.7 per cent increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.
NODX to seven of the top 10 NODX markets saw growth in July, unlike in June when only four NODX markets saw growth. The key drivers were the US, Japan and Indonesia, while the laggards were South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports expanded 4.3 per cent in July after declining a revised 11.1 per cent in June. The poll called for a 0.2 per cent expansion from the month before.
The better-than-expected jump was thanks to a surge in pharmaceutical exports, which rose 109.2 per cent in July from a year earlier.
OCBC Bank's head of treasury research and strategy, Ms Selena Ling, said that July's NODX print marks a healthy start for Singapore's exports in the second half of the year.
However, she also noted that pharmaceuticals output and exports can be rather volatile depending on the turnaround for each production cycle, therefore it is unclear how long this current uptick will sustain beyond the immediate few months ahead.
Additionally, "the higher 9.7 per cent year-on-year NODX growth seen for August-December 2017, and the escalating US-Sino trade war, may still pose some headwinds for NODX growth in the coming months," Ms Ling added.