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Singapore's manufacturing output contracted by 4.7 per cent in February on a year-on-year basis, but the decline would have been sharper - at 7.4 per cent - excluding the manufacturing activity in the biomedical sector.
Based on latest preliminary data released by the Economic Development Board on Thursday, manufacturing output dropped 5.8 per cent over the second month of this year on a three-month moving average basis from a year ago, while month on month, after adjusting for seasonal factors, it fell 4.8 per cent. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 2.1 per cent.
Improved export demand for medical devices led to a 12.7 per cent growth in medical technology while pharmaceuticals notched a 4 per cent growth, thanks to higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products.
On a year-to-date basis, the biomedical manufacturing cluster increased 17.4 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.
Chemicals cluster's output grew 1.2 per cent in February versus a year ago with the other chemicals and specialties segment rising 19 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively. Growth in the other chemicals segment was supported by higher output in fragrances, while the petrochemicals segment contracted 12.2 per cent mainly due to plant maintenance shutdowns.
General manufacturing output fell marginally by 0.3 per cent, mainly due to declines in miscellaneous industries on the back of lower production of wearing apparels and steel structural components.
Precision engineering output decreased 7.5 per cent.
Electronics output decreased 8.4 per cent as growth in data storage and other electronic modules and components was offset by declines in the other electronic segments.
Transport engineering fell 14.5 per cent, driven by a weak marine and offshore engineering segment where output dipped 23.1 per cent on reduced rig-building activity and weaker demand for oilfield and gasfield equipment amid an oil price slump.