Singapore non oil domestic exports plunge 20.7%, misses expectations by a huge margin

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Singapore non oil domestic exports plunge 20.7%, misses expectations by a huge margin

Container ships and bulk carriers behind the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino offshore from Singapore, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports plunged 20.7% in March from a year ago, a sharp decline from the revised 0.2% fall in February.

The 20.7% fall missed expectations by a huge margin, with economists polled by Reuters forecasting a 7% fall. This is the largest drop in non-oil domestic exports recorded by Singapore since January 2023.

On a month-on-month basis, non-oil domestic exports slid 8.4%, also more than the 4.5% expected in the Reuters forecast.

Government business development agency Enterprise Singapore said the slump was due to declines in non-electronics exports, including pharmaceutical exports. Electronic exports slipped 9.4%, while non-electronic exports tumbled 23.2%.

Non-oil domestic exports to Singapore’s top markets declined in March, particularly for the U.S., the European Union and Japan. However, exports to to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan grew.

Enterprise Singapore said that on a seasonally adjusted basis, March non-oil domestic exports came in at 13 billion Singapore dollars, lower than February’s SG$14.2 billion and 2023’s average of $14.5 billion.

Singapore’s total trade decreased 1.8% year-on-year in March, after the 3.5% increase in the preceding month. Exports declined 3.4%, while imports also fell 0.1%.

In reaction to the release, Shena Yue, economist at Oxford Economics, said in a note that she “remains cautious” on the export outlook, noting that re-exports have been driving growth in recent months while more highly value-added domestic exports struggled.

Yue also highlighted that as monetary policy is set to remain tight in important export destinations like the U.S. and the EU, global growth will remain subdued and weigh on import demand.

“As such, goods exports are unlikely to provide a massive boost to GDP growth this year [for Singapore],” she said.

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