Singapore

Factory output surged 24.2% last month, biggest increase since 2011

Singapore's factory output might be a bright spot in the economy, thanks to the booming pharmaceutical and electronics sectors, according to data released yesterday by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Manufacturing output spiked 24.2 per cent last month, compared with the same month last year - the biggest year-on-year increase since December 2011. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 8.5 per cent.

Biomedical manufacturing production expanded by 89.8 per cent year on year. Pharmaceutical output swelled 113.6 per cent with higher output of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products, while the medical technology segment grew 15 per cent with higher export demand for medical instruments.

On a year to-date basis, the biomedical manufacturing cluster grew 26.6 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.

Analysts said Singapore is benefiting from the pandemic-induced demand for pharmaceuticals and medical technology.

The electronics sector also posted robust growth - 30.1 per cent last month. This was led by the semiconductor segment, which grew 37.4 per cent, supported by demand from cloud services, data centres and the 5G market, EDB noted.

The demand for chips remains strong.

OCBC Bank head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling said: "Electronics continues to benefit from the semiconductor upturn, with work-from-home arrangements driving demand for cloud computing and data centres. Drivers also include new iPhone launches and 5G introduction."

The transport engineering cluster recorded a 35.8 per cent plunge in output last month.

Growth in the land segment was offset by sharp declines in marine and offshore engineering and aerospace, as new orders were hit by the weak global oil and gas market and virus-led travel restrictions. - THE STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE