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Singapore's key exports up 8% in November
Posted date: December 19, 2006
SINGAPORE -- Singapore's key exports grew 8.1 percent in November compared with the same month last year despite a further contraction in electronic shipments, the government said Monday. The figure fell within range or exceeded economists' forecasts of between 2.6 and 11.5 percent year-on-year growth, but analysts said they did not foresee the drop in electronics exports.
Despite the strong figure for November, analysts said they expect an easing of export growth in the fourth quarter because of a high comparative base set last year.
"Not only is the base effect strong, maybe the trajectory has... moderated a bit since the beginning of the year, and that will mirror what we are seeing around the world," said David Cohen, director of Asian economic forecasting for Action Economics.
Leslie Tang, of UOB KayHian, agreed and said he expects full-year NODX growth of about 11 percent.
"It is not the big bang that we are hoping to end the year with," he said.
November non-oil domestic exports (NODX) expanded 8.1 percent to 15.13 billion Singapore dollars (US$9.82 billion) compared with a gain of 3.8 percent to 14.80 billion Singapore dollars in October, International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) said in a statement.
On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, NODX grew by a faster 5.6 percent in November after 2.1 percent expansion in October, the trade promotion agency said.
Total trade rebounded with an 8.7 percent year-on-year increase in November to 68.90 billion Singapore dollars after a 0.4 percent decline the previous month.
"The higher NODX growth can be attributed mainly to faster growth in non-electronic NODX," IE Singapore said.
In November, the non-electronic exports grew by a robust 24.9 percent, compared with 10.5 percent in October, largely on increased shipments of pharmaceuticals, disk media, petrochemicals and electrical circuit apparatus, the agency said.
Compared with a year earlier, pharmaceutical shipments jumped 73.9 percent to 2.34 billion Singapore dollars in November compared with a 37.2 percent gain to 1.59 billion Singapore dollars in October.
IE Singapore reported that petrochemical shipments increased 10.9 percent for a value of 1.09 billion Singapore dollars last month, against 6.9 percent expansion valued at 1.06 billion dollars in October.
Electronic exports contracted by a further 8.4 percent in November, worsening from the 2.6 percent decline a month earlier, it said.
"This lackluster performance was contributed by sustained declines in domestic exports of parts of PCs and disk drives, and declines in consumer electronics, ICs and diodes and transistors," it said.
The electronic exports were valued at 6.49 billion Singapore dollars last month compared with 7.15 billion dollars in October, the agency said.
Economists had anticipated a rebound in electronic exports. They said a further decline is now likely on continued weakness in semiconductor shipments.
"The decline is quite unexpected," Tang said.
He said he expects a further weakening in semiconductor exports as consumers may hold back personal computer purchases in anticipation of the commercial launch of the Microsoft Vista operating system in the United States.
At the same time, the traditional Christmas sales surge could lend support to electronic exports, he said.
"If demand for mobile phones and game consoles continue to grow strongly, then we will probably see the numbers improve," Tang said.
Cohen said that while there could be some form of inventory correction underway, "the level of activity remains strong in the electronics sector."
Singapore's monthly NODX figures are closely watched because the economy is heavily trade-driven. The external sector is three times the size of the city-state's gross domestic product valued at 194 billion Singapore dollars in 2005.