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Singapore industrial output seen rising in February: poll
[SINGAPORE] Singapore's industrial production is expected to have returned to growth in February after contracting more than expected the previous month, a Reuters poll showed.
Manufacturing output likely rose 0.4 per cent last month from January on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to a Reuters poll of 12 analysts.
Output fell 6 per cent in January on-month, ending a five-month firming streak.
On a year-on-year basis, industrial production is seen up 10.8 per cent, according to the median forecast in the poll.
Analysts said January and February single-month data was likely skewed to some degree by the timing of the long Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in February last year but late January this year. Many factories close or scale back operations during the period.
Despite strong electronics exports, some analysts believe industrial production will begin to slow in coming months.
"(Export numbers) are just inventory drawdown and that would continue for another month or so, but industrial production will start slowing", said RBS economist Vaninder Singh.
Manufacturing output has generally grown strongly since late 2016 thanks to a surge in global demand for hi-tech products, helping the trade-dependent city-state dodge a recession.
Improving exports, and in particular electronics, are reinforcing analysts' views that Singapore's central bank will keep its exchange-rate based policy unchanged next month.
However, the government has warned that the trade outlook remained cloudy due the risk of a surge in US trade protectionism.