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Singapore factory output declines 5.4% in October

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Singapore's manufacturing output declined 5.4 per cent year-on-year in October, dragged down by a 14 per cent drop in electronics production.

SINGAPORE'S manufacturing output declined 5.4 per cent year-on-year in October, dragged down by a 14 per cent drop in electronics production.

The overall number came in around the market's expectation of a 5.3 per cent drop, according to the median estimate of 12 economists polled by Reuters.

Excluding the biomedical manufacturing cluster, output would have fallen by a larger 6.4 per cent, said the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Thursday.

The electronics cluster, which retains the largest weight of 33.4 per cent on the index, stayed in contraction mode again and posted the worst performance last month. All electronics segments - save data storage and other electronic modules & components - registered output declines. Semiconductor output dropped 16.6 per cent.

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The second-largest component on the index, biomedical manufacturing, fell back into negative territory in October with a 1.6 per cent decline in output. This was due to a 10.8 per cent drop in the pharmaceuticals segment.

The best-performing cluster was chemicals, which increased 5.5 per cent in October compared with a year ago.

"The petroleum and petrochemicals segments grew 9.7 per cent and 4 per cent respectively as some plants shut down for maintenance last year. The specialties segment recorded growth of 7.2 per cent, on the back of expanded production capacities," said EDB.

On the other hand, the other chemicals segment declined 1.6 per cent as demand for plastic sheet, film & articles and glass products was lower.

EDB said that after adjusting for seasonal factors, industrial production increased 2.5 per cent in October. If biomedical manufacturing is stripped out, output would have risen 1.7 per cent.

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