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Singapore merchandise trade, non-oil exports ease in 2018; no change to 2019 growth forecast

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Growth of both trade and exports eased in 2018, leading trade promotion agency Enterprise Singapore to maintain its growth forecasts for non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and total merchandise trade at zero to 2.0 per cent for 2019. Total trade crossed the S$1 trillion mark last year.

GROWTH of both trade and exports eased in 2018, leading trade promotion agency Enterprise Singapore to maintain its growth forecasts for non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and total merchandise trade at zero to 2.0 per cent for 2019. Total trade crossed the S$1 trillion mark last year.

Year-on-year NODX growth slowed from 8.8 per cent in 2017 to 4.2 per cent last year, with the NODX dipping 1.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2018. The NODX jumped 8.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

Enterprise Singapore attributed the NODX growth last year to "higher exports of non-electronic NODX which outweighed the decline in electronics". Non-electronic NODX increased 8.2 per cent, easing from a 9.2 per cent gain in 2017, while the electronic NODX fell 5.5. The electronic NODX rose 8.0 per cent in the previous year.

NODX shipments to the top major markets as a whole was up last year, led by the US (+38.2 per cent), the European Union (+15.7 per cent), Japan (11.4 per cent) and Indonesia (11.3 per cent). NODX exports to China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia declined.

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Total trade jumped 9.2 per cent to a high of S$1.1 trillion in 2018, against a 11.1 per cent increase in 2017. Both export and imports grew 7.9 and 10.6 per cent respectively last year.

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Total services trade went up 2.3 per cent in 2018 to S$500.4 billion, following a 11.7 per cent expansion in 2017. Both services exports and imports rose 4.1 and 0.6 per cent respectively.