Singapore's annual exports in January get boost from petrochemicals, techs slide

Singapore's annual exports in January surged despite another decline in electronics shipments, thanks to a welcome jump in sales of petrochemical products.

Published: 15th February 2018 10:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2018 10:39 AM   |  A+A-

An aerial view of shipping containers stacked at the port of Singapore. (Photo: Reuters)

By Reuters

SINGAPORE: Singapore's annual exports in January surged despite another decline in electronics shipments, thanks to a welcome jump in sales of petrochemical products.

Non-oil domestic exports (NDOX) rose 13.0 percent in January year-on-year, data from the trade agency International Enterprise Singapore showed on Thursday, accelerating from the 3.1 percent rise the month before.

That bettered the 9.0 percent increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.

Shipments of petrochemical products - a sector known to be volatile - was up 11.3 percent in January after contracting 0.6 percent the month before.

"Examining the breakdown confirms our view on Singapore that growth is broadening," Continuum Economics analyst Jeff Ng said.

The global exports boom has benefited Singapore and other trade-dependent Asian economies in the past year, particularly for makers of electronics products and components such as semiconductors.

However, recent data has shown a cooling in demand, particularly for the city state's tech products which were hit in December and declined again last month.

On Wednesday, Singapore announced that its economic growth in 2017 had hit a 3-year high, but cautioned of moderating momentum this year due to slackening shipments.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports contracted 0.3 percent in January after declining a revised 1.9 percent in December. Expectations centered on a 3.6 percent expansion for last month.

Electronics exports contracted 3.9 percent year-on-year in January after the 5.3 decline the month earlier, while overall sales to China bounced with a 3.3 percent rise from the year before.

"The decline in electronics is a reality that we have to adjust to," said OCBC economist Selena Ling.

"Going forward, electronics momentum looks like it's going to be decelerating."

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