Singapore’s manufacturing output increased 1.2% in October 2016 year-on-year, the third straight month of growth, although at a weaker rate but still above market expectations, based on figures released by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
The electronics and biomedical manufacturing sectors largely plumped up the figures, even as their stronger performance was tempered by double-digit contractions in transport engineering and general manufacturing. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 1.4%.
Month-on-month, manufacturing output contracted 0.1% in October 2016 compared to September 2016. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output slid back 1.9%.
The EDB said the month’s biggest gainer was the electronics cluster, whose output increased 24.6% year-on-year, supported by semiconductors, which recorded an output growth of 41.7%. Year-to-date, electronics production expanded 11.7% compared to the same period a year ago.
The biomedical manufacturing cluster increased its productivity 11.3% in October 216 compared to the same month last year. Pharmaceuticals expanded 12.4% mainly due to a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products produced. Output of the medical technology segment also grew 8.2% with higher export demand for medical instruments. Cumulatively, biomedical manufacturing output rose 8.7% in the first 10 months compared to the same period in 2015.
Precision engineering’s productivity increased 2.7% year-on-year in October. The machinery & systems segment grew 7.3% on the back of higher export demand in semiconductor-related equipment. This was partially offset by the precision modules & components segment, which contracted 4.6% due to lower output of industrial rubber and optical instruments. Year-to-date, output of the precision engineering cluster declined 0.7% compared to the same period a year ago.
The losing side was led by transport engineering, which saw output contract 26.9% year-on-year in October. The land transport and aerospace segments rose 18.1% and 9.7%, respectively, offset by a 46.9% decline in marine & offshore engineering. In the first 10 months of the year, output of the transport engineering cluster decreased 18.8% compared to a year ago.
General manufacturing industries’ pace of production decelerated in October, falling 22.2% year-on-year with all segment posting declines. The miscellaneous industries segment fell 12.0% on account of lower production of fiberglass products, metal doors, windows, grilles & gratings, and construction-related materials. The printing and food, beverages & tobacco segments also contracted 19.8% and 31.5%, respectively. The former was affected by weak demand for commercial printing, while the latter was negatively impacted by some plant maintenance shutdowns. In the first 10 months of the year, general manufacturing output fell 3.1% compared to the same period last year.
Finally, the chemicals cluster’s output decreased 0.7% year-on-year. This was mainly attributed to petrochemicals, which declined 13.9% as output was affected by plant maintenance shutdowns. The rest of the chemicals segment expanded, with the specialties, other chemicals, and petroleum segments recording gains of 0.8%, 14.0% and 14.9%, respectively. Cumulatively, the chemicals cluster’s output fell 1.9% in the first 10 months of 2016 against a year ago.
Photo: Babu UV