Singapore’s non-oil exports fall 20.6% in December; third straight month of decline

Singapore's non-oil exports fall 20.6% in December; third straight month of decline
A boat leaves a pier past the Pasir Panjang container port terminal in Singapore on Nov 11, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell for the third straight month in December due to weak global demand.

NODX fell by 20.6 per cent year in December from a high base a year ago, following the 14.7 per cent decrease in November.

According to data released by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) on Tuesday (Jan 17), the drop was led by both electronics and non-electronics products.

On a year-on-year basis, electronics contracted by 17.9 per cent in December, following the 20.2 per cent decline in the previous month.

Integrated circuits, disk media products and personal computer parts decreased by 26.0 per cent, 36.5 per cent and 41.7 per cent respectively, contributing the most to the decline in electronics.

Non-electronics declined by 21.3 per cent in December from a year ago, following the 12.8 per cent decrease in the previous month.

Non-monetary gold, specialised machinery and primary chemicals contributed the most to the decline in non-electronics exports.

The full-year NODX growth in 2022 is at 3.5 per cent, which OCBC economist Selena Ling said was the slowest annual growth since 2019. The same exports grew 12.5 per cent in 2021 and 4.4 per cent in 2020.

She added that NODX in the first quarter of 2023 is expected to be grim, with up to a 17 per cent contraction year-on-year given fears of a global recession.

“Until the global central banks including the US Federal Reserve clearly pivot to a rate pause and the prevailing recession worries abate, global demand conditions are likely to continue to be weighed down in the first quarter of 2023,” said Ms Ling.

NODX TO TOP 10 MARKETS DECLINE

NODX to Singapore’s top 10 markets as a whole declined in December, although exports to Japan and South Korea rose 6.8 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively.

China, Indonesia and Hong Kong were the largest contributors to the drop.

Exports to Indonesia dropped by 35.4 per cent in December compared to 4.9 per cent in the previous month. This was due to non-monetary gold, petrochemicals and telecommunications equipment.

Hong Kong exports declined 34.6 per cent in December, after the 41.0 per cent decrease in the previous month due to integrated circuits, specialised machinery and electrical machinery.

Exports to China dipped 31.8 per cent in December, following the 31.2 per cent drop in the previous month. This was due to specialised machinery, pharmaceuticals and primary chemicals.

“The COVID-19 situation in China, particularly the caution amid the reopening announcement in early December, likely weighed on economic activities, which is reflected in the dampened NODX of specialised machinery, pharmaceuticals and primary chemicals to China,” Ms Ling said.

Exports to emerging markets also saw a contraction of 37.4 per cent in December, following a 30.3 per cent decrease in the previous month. This was mainly due to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV), the Middle East and the Caribbean declining 70.1 per cent, 19.9 per cent, and 89.4 per cent respectively.

On a year-on-year basis, total trade decreased by 7.7 per cent in December, following the 2.4 per cent contraction in the previous month.

Source: CNA//Reuters/ic(rj)