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Singapore's manufacturing output contracts for the first time in almost a year

Singapore's manufacturing output contracts for the first time in almost a year

Workers at a manufacturing facility in Singapore. (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's manufacturing output declined for the first time in almost a year in September, largely due to the pharmaceuticals segment, official data on Tuesday (Oct 26) showed.

Factory output fell 3.4 per cent year-on-year in September, after growing a revised 11 per cent in August. This is the first time manufacturing output has posted a decline since October last year, when production contracted 0.4 per cent.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 9.4 per cent in September, according to Economic Development Board (EDB) figures. 


Singapore’s biomedical manufacturing cluster contracted 35.9 per cent in September, extending the previous month's 1.7 per cent decline.

The medical technology segment rose 2.4 per cent with sustained export demand for medical devices. The pharmaceuticals segment, however, declined 46.2 per cent due to a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients being produced compared to a year ago, EDB said. 


Electronics manufacturing rose 4.9 per cent, slower than the previous month's 15.4 per cent expansion. All segments posted growth except for computer peripherals and data storage. 

Chemicals output rose 12.4 per cent, extending August's 0.7 per cent rise. The petroleum and petrochemicals segments grew 26.1 per cent and 18.6 per cent respectively from a year ago, recovering from plant maintenance shutdowns and weaker export demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Output in precision engineering rose 30.2 per cent in September. All segments grew, with the machinery and systems segment rising by 38.4 per cent and the precision modules and components by 13.5 per cent. 

The transport engineering cluster increased 12.9 per cent in September, with the aerospace segment climbing 21.7 per cent and the marine and offshore segment rising 9.9 per cent. 

This is due to increasing activity in aerospace firms and shipyards compared to last year, when the industries were affected by international travel restrictions and the weak global oil and gas market respectively amid the COVID-19 pandemic, EDB said. 

The general manufacturing cluster contracted 2.7 per cent in September, driven by a fall in the printing and food, beverage and tobacco segments, which fell 14.5 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively. 

However, output in the miscellaneous industries segment grew 21 per cent from a low base last year, when demand for construction-related products was adversely affected by COVID-19.

EDB's next monthly manufacturing performance will be released on Nov 26.

Source: CNA/vc(aj)


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