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    Jun 18, 2014

    Surprise drop in exports last month

    SINGAPORE'S exports fell unexpectedly last month on weak shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals to its key markets, data showed yesterday, indicating little upside so far from a recovery in developed economies.

    Non-oil domestic exports fell a seasonally adjusted 7.5 per cent last month from April, trade agency International Enterprise Singapore said, well below a forecast of 0.5 per cent growth.

    From a year earlier, non-oil exports last month slid 6.6 per cent, compared with growth of 0.9 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll.

    Many economists had predicted at the start of the year that a recovery in the United States and European economies would boost Singapore's exports, but signs of that filtering through have yet to fully materialise.

    Non-oil domestic exports to the US fell 8.8 per cent last month from a year earlier, compared with 11.7 per cent growth in April.

    Shipments to the European Union declined an annual 22.6 per cent last month, more than double April's fall of 10.9 per cent. Exports to China grew 7.2 per cent last month, but the expansion was less than a third of April's 22.6 per cent.

    Exports of electronics and pharmaceuticals contributed to the overall weakness last month.

    Electronics shipments last month fell 15.3 per cent from a year earlier, after suffering an 8.7 per cent fall in April and a 16.1 per cent loss in March.

    "Electronics was more of a disruption story - the number of public holidays last month, particularly in Korea and Taiwan, caused disruptions to the regional supply chains," said Leong Wai Ho, senior regional economist at Barclays in Singapore.

    "So I don't think the fall is anything particularly sinister, but it was more pronounced than we had expected," he added.

    Domestic exports of pharmaceuticals, which tend to be very volatile from month to month, lost 26.3 per cent from a year earlier.