SINGAPORE: Singapore’s manufacturing output fell 7.4 per cent year-on-year in May after two straight months of increase as demand weakened across most segments, with only the biomedical manufacturing cluster reporting gains.
Excluding this cluster, the country’s output fell 10.4 per cent, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Friday (Jun 26).
This is the worst year-on-year performance since November 2019, when manufacturing output contracted 12.3 per cent.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output fell 16.5 per cent. Excluding biomedical, output fell 6.2 per cent, EDB said.
Globally, supply chains have been affected by lockdowns imposed by governments in their attempt to stem the coronavirus outbreak, but demand for medical supplies have risen.
Output for the biomedical manufacturing cluster increased 5.9 per cent in May compared to the same period a year ago.
EDB said the growth was largely attributed to the pharmaceuticals segment, which expanded 14.7 per cent, buoyed by higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products.
But within the cluster, medical technology output fell 20.1 per cent, partly due to tighter "circuit breaker" measures imposed in Singapore.
Between January and May, the biomedical manufacturing cluster expanded by 49.9 per cent, as compared to the same period last year.
As for the rest of the main clusters, production in May fell partly due to restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest decline was in transport engineering, which contracted 40.7 per cent year-on-year.
All segments under the cluster contracted, led by marine and offshore engineering. The segment fell 55.1 per cent, due to slowed down work at shipyards during the circuit breaker measures.
Meanwhile, lower volume of repair and maintenance work contributed to the 30.1 per cent fall in the aerospace segment, as airlines grounded aircraft amid the pandemic.
The general manufacturing cluster contracted 26.9 per cent, as export demand weakened and production scaled down due to tighter circuit breaker measures.
The chemicals cluster contracted 13.5 per cent, while precision engineering fell 5.3 per cent year-on-year in May.
The electronics sector fell 1 per cent. All segments within the cluster fell, with the exception of semiconductors. Output for semiconductors rose 1.6 per cent due to the demand from cloud services, data centres and 5G markets.
The next monthly manufacturing performance data will be released on Jul 24.