Singapore

Singapore's non-oil exports set surprising 6.8% surge

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) posted their first gain in three months in December, defying market expectations of a drop and reinforcing the cautious optimism for this year.

Nodx last month surged 6.8 per cent year on year after falling a revised 5 per cent in November and 3.1 per cent in October, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said yesterday.

Before October, Singapore had seen four consecutive months of Nodx growth.

The December growth defied economists' expectation of a 1.1 per cent contraction, as polled by Bloomberg, and took the 2020 Nodx rise to 4.8 per cent.

The full-year growth also defied a global recession and comes after a 9.2 per cent slide in 2019.

ESG attributed the December gain mainly to shipments of non-electronic goods.

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, Nodx rose by 6.6 per cent in December - again higher than the 3.5 per cent rise forecast in the Bloomberg poll - extending the previous month's 3.7 per cent increase.

Electronics grew 13.7 per cent but mainly due to a low year-ago base, ESG said.

Electronics Nodx gains last month were mostly due to a 16 per cent surge in integrated circuits shipments, which had contracted 25 per cent in December 2019 amid the global electronics downcycle.

Non-electronics Nodx rose by 5 per cent last month, after a 5.3 per cent decline in the previous month. The gains were led by specialised machinery, non-monetary gold and measuring instruments.

The bulk of the specialised machinery shipments went to South Korea, in line with robust global semiconductor demand.

Non-monetary gold exports were helped by the spike in the precious metal's international price, which rose above US$1,900 (S$2,530) per ounce last month amid reports of stimulus measures in the United States.

A new wave of lockdowns in Britain also lent support to the safe haven asset's demand.

BUSINESS & FINANCE