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Singapore Dec exports seen rising y-o-y, but at slower pace: poll

[SINGAPORE] Singapore's exports are expected to have risen in December albeit at a slower pace than the previous month, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Non-oil domestic exports in December were expected to have climbed 8.7 per cent from a year earlier, according to the median forecast in the survey of 10 economists, cooling slightly from the 9.1 per cent rise in November.

The continued on-year increases seen in exports in 2017 have been driven by healthy global demand and would have been exacerbated by the holiday season in December, analysts say.

"We had a stellar year last year so I think the more interesting question to look forward to is if we will see a further slowdown in the first quarter of 2018," OCBC economist Selena Ling said.

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Although external demand remains robust, headline numbers in the coming months are expected to show a less dramatic increase in part because of last year's high base.

"We will probably see some easing in terms of momentum, but probably not anything that's going to be slamming on the brakes for now," Ling told Reuters.

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

In a research note to its clients this month, Moody's said "tech exports remain the bright spot" for Singapore's exports.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, however, exports were expected to have fallen 4.5 per cent in December, the poll found, compared with an 8.7 per cent rise in November.

Singapore's economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter as factories lost steam, but a services sector recovery has bolstered expectations the central bank could tighten monetary policy as early as April.

REUTERS

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