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Singapore's manufacturing sector shrinks by smaller-than-expected 5.5% y-o-y in March
SLOWER transport engineering, electronics and pharmaceutical production meant that Singapore's manufacturing sector contracted a sharper 5.5 per cent year-on-year in March, after shrinking 3.3 per cent in February.
But this was still slightly better than the 5.9 per cent year-on-year fall in industrial output that economists had been expecting, going by the median forecast of 16 of them polled by Bloomberg. After seasonal adjustments, overall manufacturing output rose 1.2 per cent month-on-month, better than the 0.8 per cent median forecast of market economists.
Pharmaceutical output shrank 13.9 per cent year-on-year, as production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biologic products fell, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Friday. This was offset in part by a 19 per cent expansion in the medical technology segment, but the overall biomedical manufacturing cluster still contracted 8.5 per cent.
Excluding the biomedical cluster, which tends to be volatile, industrial output would have fallen a smaller 4.6 per cent year-on-year.
This was largely due to the electronics and transport engineering clusters.
Electronics, the cluster with the largest weight on the industrial production index, contracted 5.2 per cent in March, extending February's 4.5 per cent decline. A 21.1 per cent drop in semiconductors output offset expansion in the other electronics segments.
Transport engineering output's decline worsened to 15.6 per cent year-on-year in March, following a 7.2 per cent drop in February. Lower demand for engine repair jobs hit the aerospace segment, while a fall in rig building and ship repair activities affected the marine and offshore engineering segment.