Photo: asiaone.com

According to the preliminary data released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Thursday (26 March), Singapore’s factory output dropped in February after the surprise increase in January.

Manufacturing output declined 1.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis as a result of the shrinking in the main electronics cluster, despite other sectors showing increases.

Higher production of biological products and higher export demand for medical devices helped support the growth in pharmaceuticals and medical technology segments at 5.3 per cent and 9.1 per cent each respectively. Against this background, output, not including biomedical manufacturing, dropped 2.5 per cent.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, the seasonally adjusted month-on-month manufacturing output declined to 17.9 per cent, and 22.3 per cent with biomedical manufacturing included.

The country’s electronics cluster output dropped 17.3 per cent, like most segments which also saw decreases. However, the components and electronic modules segment increased 14.9 per cent.

On the other hand, there was an expansion of 16.1 per cent in the general manufacturing cluster. All segments saw growth in output such as tobacco, printing, food and beverage.

Output also increased by 10.9 per cent in transport engineering which was driven by increases in aerospace production by 17.9 per cent as commercial airlines conducted more repair and maintenance work. In addition, there was a 5.6 per cent growth in the marine and offshore engineering segment, which was fuelled by more offshore projects.

Furthermore, precision engineering output grew by 26.2 per cent due to the increases in the precision modules and components segment alongside the machinery and systems segment.  These increases were driven by the increased production of metal precision components, semiconductors, dies and molds and optical products.

The chemical cluster increased by 5.2 per cent despite the fall in out for other chemical segments by 2 per cent. As a result, this fuelled the increases in specialties, petrochemicals and petroleum refining segments (11.5 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 3.2 per cent each).

Singapore revised downwards its official growth forecast for 2020 on Thursday (26 March). The new forecast now sits between -4 per cent and -1 per cent. This reflects a worsening outlook compared to the forecast between -0.5 per cent and-1.5 per cent in February by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

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