Singapore’s non-oil exports declined for the third straight month in December, and at a faster-than-expected pace, amid sharp falls in both shipments of electronic and non-electronic goods, data from Enterprise Singapore showed on Tuesday.
Non-oil domestic exports, or NODX, decreased 20.6 percent year-on-year in December, which was worse than the 14.7 percent fall in November. Economists had expected a 16.8 percent fall.
Electronic exports plunged 17.9 percent, largely led by significant contractions in the shipments of microchips, disk media products and computer parts.
The non-electronic NODX logged an annual decline of 21.3 percent, impacted by lower foreign demand for non-monetary gold, specialized machinery, and primary chemicals.
On a monthly basis, the NODX decreased 3.3 percent in December, after a 9.2 percent fall in the previous month. Meanwhile, economists had forecast a 1.0 percent renewed rise at the end of the year.
In December, non-oil domestic exports to the top 10 markets as a whole decreased, primarily as a result of China, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, while those to South Korea and Japan increased.
Data also showed that total trade decreased 7.7 percent in December, faster than the 2.4 percent drop a month ago. Both exports and imports fell by 7.1 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.
During the year 2022, overall trade registered a sharp growth of 17.7 percent.
ING economist Nicholas Mapa expects Singapore non-oil exports to continue stalling as global trade is expected to slow further in 2023.
Further, a strengthening Singapore dollar could be a complication for the export outlook and could be something the Monetary Authority of Singapore will need to pay attention to on top of inflation, the economist said.
“Despite the uncertainties about China’s re-opening, the slowdown in economic growth for Singapore’s other major trade destination countries will likely result in NODX posting steep falls for at least the first half of this year, forcing overall growth to settle at around 2.5 percent YoY for 2023,” Mapa added.