Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports, or NODX, for November fell 2.6 percent on-year after a high base in the year-ago month, and as a decline in non-electronics exports outweighed growth in the long-downtrodden electronics segment, Enterprise Singapore said in an official release on Monday.
That was after rising 8.2 percent on-year in October, it said. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a 1.2 percent increase.
Nomura said it had expected an increase of 1.5 percent for the month, but noted that the volatile pharmaceutical segment growth slowed to 8.4 percent from 89.7 percent previously. That more than offset the unexpected improvement in the electronics sector, Nomura said in a note on Monday.
But it held out little hope for sustained improvement.
“As the global tech downcycle deepens, we expect the improvement in electronics to be short-lived and overall NODX growth to remain weak,” Nomura said.
The Singapore dollar was a tad stronger after the data. The dollar/Singapore dollar was at 1.3758 at 10:23 A.M. SGT after touching levels as low as 1.3752, compared with as high as 1.3771 shortly before the data’s release, according to DZHI data.
Nomura kept it forecast for 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 3.3 percent, implying second half growth slows to 2.3 percent on-year from 4.3 percent in the first half. But it was downbeat on 2019.
“As the cyclical tailwinds from exports fade, we believe the economy will struggle more with structural constraints such as deteriorating demographics and high leverage, and forecast GDP growth to slow to 2.5 percent,” Nomura said.
On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, NODX fell 4.2 percent in November, after rising 4.2 percent in October amid a decline in non-electronics NODX, despite electronics exports rising, it said.
Electronics NODX rose 4.5 percent on-year in November after falling 3.6 percent in October, as exports of ICs (integrated circuits), consumer electronics and telecommunications equipment rose by 27.9 percent, 11.5 percent and 3.4 percent respectively, the statement said.
Non-electronics NODX fell by 5.2 percent on-year in November after rising 12.7 percent in October, it said. The biggest contributors to the decline were non-monetary gold, which saw exports fall 77.9 percent, specialized machinery and petrochemicals, it said.
Exports to most of Singapore’s top-10 markets declined, with China, South Korea and Indonesia the largest contributors, Enterprise Singapore said. The exceptions among the top-10 were the U.S., Thailand, Japan and Taiwan.
NODX to China fell by 16.0 percent in November extending October’s 25.8 percent decline, led by decreases in non-monetary gold, optical goods and specialized machinery, it said.
NODX was S$14.9 billion in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from S$15.6 billion in October, the statement said.
Oil domestic exports were up 18.9 percent on-year in November, after rising 30.6 percent in October, with higher sales to Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia, it said.
Total trade in November was up 7.7 percent on-year, after rising 20.1 percent on-year in October, it said. Total exports for the month rose 6.3 percent after increasing 20.4 percent in October, while total imports expanded by 9.4 percent in November after increasing 19.8 percent in October, it said.