Singapore's Nov factory output rises 7.6% beating forcasts, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Singapore's Nov factory output rises 7.6% beating forcasts

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Surge comes on back of strong pharmaceuticals output, growth in marine and offshore engineering segment

Singapore's industrial production last month beat expectations, data showed yesterday, helped by a jump in pharmaceuticals output as well as strong expansion in the marine and offshore engineering segment.

Manufacturing output last month rose 7.6 per cent from a year earlier, data from the Economic Development Board (EDB) showed.

The median forecast in a Reuters survey of eight economists predicted a 4.1 per cent expansion.

It was faster than the revised 5.5 per cent growth in October.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production rose 2.8 per cent last month, faster than October's revised 2.4 per cent growth.

The biomedical cluster remained the biggest growth driver, expanding by 18.5 per cent year-on-year, higher than October's 13.1 per cent rise.

Within this category, pharmaceuticals posted the biggest growth of 23.9 per cent year on year with the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products, said the EDB.

But as overall growth was supported mainly by the pharma cluster, last month's above par performance might not be sustainable since the pharma industry is known for its high volatility, said SIM Global Education senior lecturer Tan Khay Boon.


The electronics industry, which had shrank in September and October, finally ended its lacklustre streak last month, growing by 11.2 per cent.

This surge came on the back of a sharp 16.5 per cent growth in semiconductors, 12.6 per cent growth in infocomms and consumer electronics and 3 per cent growth in the other electronic modules and component segments.

United Overseas Bank senior economist Alvin Liew, who had forecast total manufacturing to shrink by 2 per cent last month, said the unexpected boost to the electronics cluster came from the temporary easing of global trade tensions.

"We may have underestimated the temporary positive impact of the 90-day ceasefire between the United States and China on additional tariffs that set the stage for another round of front-loading of imports before the March 1, 2019 deadline," said Mr Liew.

In another development, Singapore will announce advance estimates of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter and all of 2018 at 8am on Jan 2, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said yesterday. - REUTERS, THE STRAITS TIMES