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FACTORY output expansion in Singapore for October expanded further after an exciting September, though there are signs that it may soon be business as usual for a muted manufacturing sector.
It grew 1.2 per cent year-on-year in October, paling in comparison to a revised 7.7 per cent growth in September. September's number itself was revised upwards from an earlier 6.7 per cent, figures from the Economic Development Board showed on Friday. September's strong output took many economists by surprise.
When compared to September, October's output still seemed pretty firm. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output contracted 0.1 per cent in October.
But it was clear that the volatile biomedical sector had propped up the sector's expansion. Though industrial production had expanded overall, excluding the biomedical output, it actually fell by 1.4 per cent from a year ago.
On a monthly basis and excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 1.9 per cent.
These overall figures showed that the surge in electronics output - the largest cluster in manufacturing - were unable to help lift output growth. The cluster grew 24.6 per cent year-on-year, supported by the semiconductor segment which grew 41.7 per cent.
The transport engineering cluster was the worst-performing cluster. Its output contracted 26.9 per cent year-on-year in October, dragged down by a 46.9 per cent decline in the marine and offshore engineering segment
The industrial production numbers come a day after third-quarter gross domestic product growth data, revised to include September's numbers, was released. It showed that manufacturing had grown 1.3 per cent on the back of a strong September output. An earlier estimate was a 1.1 per cent decline.
The sector was singled out for helping support some of the overall Q3 growth, which was revised upwards to 1.1 per cent year-on-year from an earlier 0.6 per cent.