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[SINGAPORE] Singapore's industrial production in January is expected to have contracted for the 12th straight month after exports fell sharply due to a collapse in sales to China, a Reuters poll showed.
The median estimate in the survey of 13 economists was for industrial output to fall 4.8 per cent year-on-year in January. In December, output shrank 7.9 per cent, the biggest fall in eight months.
The city-state's non-oil domestic exports tumbled 9.9 per cent in January from a year earlier, data released last week showed. Exports to China - Singapore's top overseas market - dived 25.2 per cent.
Given a run of weak data and a lacklustre outlook for the city state's economy, analysts say the prospect of Singapore's central bank easing monetary policy at its scheduled policy review in April is rising.
The city state's manufacturing output in 2015 was hit by weakness in production in sectors such as electronics and pharmaceuticals, which declined 6.8 percent and 8.6 per cent, respectively.
Marine and offshore engineering production were also hit hard, contracting 18.4 per cent in 2015, as a slide in oil prices hurt demand for offshore drilling rigs.
On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production was seen down 1.8 per cent in January, the Reuters poll showed, after expanding 2.0 per cent in December.