SINGAPORE: Singapore’s exports declined unexpectedly last month after four months of strong growth. Most economists attributed the drop largely to the Chinese New Year festivities, which began from mid-February. But they remain confident of overall trade prospects, even as they foresee momentum in the coming months slowing from last year’s breakneck pace.
Official figures released yesterday show non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) contracted by 5.9 per cent last month from the same month a year earlier – the first decline since last September.
Beside being sharply below economists’ expectations of 4.8 per cent growth, it was also significantly weaker than January’s 12.9 per cent increase.
This is particularly exacerbated by plants in China, which typically ramp up their production ahead of Chinese New Year before shutting down production during the festive period,” he added.
China is a big market for Singapore manufacturers, and its response to the festive period explains the 12.9 per cent spike in January, followed by a 5.9 per cent dive last month, he noted.
“Plainly, if one averages the numbers for both months, we still have a decent 3.5 per cent expansion.”
Last month’s fall was the result of a decline in electronics and non-electronics shipments. Electronics shipments, a key driver of economic growth last year, fell 12.3 per cent after a 3.9 per cent slide in January.