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Singapore manufacturing up 7.6% in November, beating estimates

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SINGAPORE'S manufacturing output grew 7.6 per cent year on year in November, beating economist's estimates of 4.2 per cent and outstripping October's 5.5 per cent figure, according to preliminary estimates from the Economic Development Board on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE'S manufacturing output grew 7.6 per cent year on year in November, beating economist's estimates of 4.2 per cent and outstripping October's 5.5 per cent figure, according to preliminary estimates from the Economic Development Board on Wednesday. Excluding the volatile biomedical manufacturing sector, output grew 5.3 per cent.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, output rose 2.8 per cent in November, pulled up by the biomedical sector - without which growth would have been flat.

Biomedical manufacturing was the biggest driver in November, with output up 18.5 per cent year on year. In particular, pharmaceuticals output was up 23.9 per cent, while medical technology output rose 6.6 per cent.

Transport engineering stayed strong, up 11.3 per cent year-on-year on the back of growth in all segments. The marine and offshore engineering segment saw the largest increase at 26.6 per cent.

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Electronics turned around after two consecutive months of year-on-year decline, growing 11.2 per cent in November. Contractions in the data storage and computer peripherals segments were more than made up for by output growth in semiconductors, infocomms and consumer electronics, and other electronic modules and components. Cumulatively, the electronics cluster's output is up 9.5 per cent year on year for the first 11 months of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017.

Chemicals output also turned around after two months of contraction to grow 3.4 per cent, supported by the other chemicals and specialities segments. Production in petroleum and petrochemicals fell due to maintenance shutdowns.

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Seeing declines in output were general manufacturing and precision engineering. General manufacturing was down 0.8 per cent, dragged down by an 11 per cent decline in printing. It has been the weakest performing cluster year-to-date, up only 0.7 per cent for the first 11 months compared to the year-ago period.

Precision engineering output fell into contraction, down 8.2 per cent. The machinery and systems segment fell 7.5 per cent, while the precision modules and components segment was down 9.2 per cent. Nonetheless, year-to-date output for the first 11 months was still up 5.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.