Factory output grows 14.3% in December
Singapore's manufacturing sector was the silver lining of 2020, with the sector posting growth for the full year.
Factory output extended its rebound last month, notching another month of better than expected performance, with electronics driving growth.
It expanded 14.3 per cent year on year last month, according to Economic Development Board (EDB) data released yesterday.
Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 19.8 per cent. Overall, manufacturing output increased 7.3 per cent last year, compared with 2019.
The electronics cluster was the star performer, said OCBC Bank head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling. The cluster expanded 11.9 per cent, compared with 2019.
"The fortuitous combination of work-from-home arrangements, accelerated adoption of digital and e-commerce platforms, and global semiconductor demand to support 5G products and solutions, amid the global lockdown period, was essentially a lifesaver (for the sector)," she noted.
Last month, electronics output expanded 41.8 per cent. This growth was attributed to the semiconductor segment, which grew 51 per cent, as well as the computer peripherals and data storage segment, which grew 9.3 per cent.
"The semiconductor segment was supported by 5G markets and a low production base from a year ago," EDB said.
But the infocommunications and consumer electronics segment and "other electronic modules and components" segment saw output fall.
The future remains bright for manufacturing, experts said.
UOB economist Barnabas Gan said: "On the back of an economic recovery in 2021 amid potentially higher oil prices, we think that sectors which had previously seen a full-year contraction could revert to positive growth.
"These include transport engineering, general manufacturing and chemicals clusters."