SINGAPORE: Exports in Singapore fell 10.6 per cent last month, after a 2.4 per cent drop in June.
Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) were hit by a decline in both electronic and non-electronic exports, according to latest figures released by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore on Wednesday (Aug 17).
Exports to all of Singapore’s top 10 markets - except the EU 28 - fell, with China, the US and Indonesia leading the decline. Exports to China - Singapore’s largest export market - remained weak, contracting 16.6 per cent after a 9.9 per cent decline in June and a 10.1 per cent fall in May.
Overall, exports of electronic products fell 12.9 per cent in July, following the 1.7 per cent contraction in the previous month. The decrease was largely due to PCs (-36.0 per cent), parts of ICs (-46.3 per cent) and diodes & transistors (-19.5 per cent).
Non-electronic exports shrank 9.5 per cent, after the 2.6 per cent contraction in June. The decrease was led by petrochemicals (-35.0 per cent), civil engineering equipment parts (-58.3 per cent) and specialised machinery (-16.7 per cent).
Non-oil re-exports (NORX) declined 1.2 per cent, in contrast to the 0.4 per cent increase in the previous month, due to a decrease in electronic re-exports which outweighed the rise in non-electronic re-exports.
Electronic re-exports contracted by 5.9 per cent, after declining 0.7 per cent in June. In contrast, re-exports of non-electronic products rose 4.1 per cent, following a 1.6 per cent increase in the previous month.
"WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS": ANALYST
Commenting on the decline, Mr Irvin Seah, a senior economist at DBS said the "poor July figures have added on to the economic gloom".
The fall in NODX came off "much worse" than market expectations of -2.5 per cent.
"Indeed, when it rains, it pours," he said. "This will add on to the long list of poor data pointing to the risk of an economic contraction ahead. Second-quarter GDP figures have been revised down. The official full-year GDP growth forecast has been lowered. Economic numbers across the region are mostly heading down rather than up. The writing is on the wall. For those maintaining a sanguine view on the near term outlook on the economy, this should be a wake-up call."
Meanwhile, Mr Edward Lee, head of ASEAN economic research at Standard Chartered, noted: "Perhaps (what is) more surprising was that electronics exports fared pretty poorly as well. Why do we think it surprises us so much?
"If you look at other indicators such as electronics production in recent times, you take a look at what regional exports have been, for electronics, if you take a look at the recent bounce in the electronics PMI, I think it you would have been expecting a better electronics export performance."
SOME SIGNS OF PICK-UP POSSIBLE: ECONOMIST
Nevertheless, despite the unexpected decline overall, one economist said he still sees opportunities going forward.
Said UOB economist Francis Tan: "This year, we're all expecting a contraction in Singapore NODX and this comes as no surprise. Because if we look around in all parts of Asia, other than Vietnam being a bright spot, many other Asian economies are seeing a contraction in their exports for the whole year.
"Coming up, I see some signs of positive momentum in the second half where we are in. No doubt today's number is worse than expectations. But going forward, there should be some signs of pick-up."
July's NODX numbers were released on the back of the official full-year GDP growth forecast last week, which was narrowed down to 1-2 per cent.