SINGAPORE'S industrial output declined 4.8 per cent year-on-year in September, falling more than the market's expectations. Apart from the biomedical manufacturing and chemicals clusters, all clusters posted a drop in production.
The 10 economists polled by Reuters before the Economic Development Board (EDB) released the data on Monday had been expecting industrial production to drop by a lesser magnitude of 4.6 per cent.
Excluding the biomedical manufacturing cluster - which pulled the overall year-on-year figure up with a 26.3 per cent expansion - factory output would have fallen a larger 10.2 per cent.
The electronics cluster, which retains the largest weight of 33.4 per cent on the index, stayed in contraction mode in September. Production shrank 8.6 per cent, dragged down by a 12 per cent decline in semiconductor output.
The worst-performing cluster was transport engineering, which holds the third-largest weight on the index. Its output dropped 24 per cent in September, with all segments registering declines.
"The marine & offshore engineering segment led the decline, as a result of lower levels of rig building and ship building activities," said EDB.
EDB said that after adjusting for seasonal factors, industrial production increased 0.5 per cent in September. If biomedical manufacturing is stripped out, output would have risen 0.3 per cent.
Again, the month-on-month growth was worse than private-sector economists had earlier forecast. Going by the Reuters poll, they had been expecting industrial production to rise one per cent in September from August on a seasonally adjusted basis.