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Singapore’s key exports face an eighth consecutive month of decline despite post-pandemic recovery

SINGAPORE — Despite exiting from the COVID-19 pandemic early this year, Singapore’s key exports have reported an eighth consecutive month of decline, as per the latest data released by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) on Friday.

The Non-oil Domestic Exports (NODX) witnessed a year-on-year (y-o-y) decrease of 14.7% in May 2023, an alarming dip from the 9.8% decrease in the previous month. Both electronics and non-electronics components reported a substantial decline.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month (m-o-m SA) basis, NODX contracted by 14.6% in May, reflecting a sharp decline from the 2.6% growth reported in April 2023.

Consequently, the level of NODX dwindled to S$13.8 billion in May 2023, a sharp decrease from the previous month’s S$16.1 billion.

Additionally, Singapore’s total trade also reported a dip in May 2023, with both exports and imports declining.

On a y-o-y basis, total trade reported a decline of 17.9% following an 18.9% contraction in April. Specifically, total exports decreased by 15.2%, and imports contracted by a sharp 20.7% in May.

Seasonally adjusted total trade decreased by 5.6% in May 2023, reaching a total of S$94.5 billion, lower than April’s S$100.1 billion.

Electronics, a significant component of NODX, faced a severe contraction of 27.2% y-o-y. Integrated Circuits (ICs), disk media products, and parts of ICs were hit the hardest, witnessing contractions of 39.2%, 41.6%, and 48.7% respectively.

Non-electronic products, including specialised machinery, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals, declined by 10.7% y-o-y, following the 5.8% decrease in the previous month.

Singapore’s top trade partners also witnessed a decline in NODX. Hong Kong saw a contraction of 41.2% in May 2023, due to significant decreases in ICs (-57.0%), disk media products (-68.2%), and electrical machinery (-47.4%).

Malaysia and Taiwan reported a decline of 26.2% and 19.4% respectively in the same period. However, an increase was noted in NODX to China and the U.S., despite the overall downward trend.

Oil domestic exports declined by 29.4% y-o-y in May 2023, continuing from the 23.7% decline in April.

The drop was driven largely by lower exports to Indonesia (-49.9%), Malaysia (-46.9%), and Hong Kong (-47.6%). Interestingly, in volume terms, oil domestic exports grew by 7.7% in May 2023.

The Non-oil Re-exports (NORX) declined by 10.1% y-o-y in May 2023, with electronics declining and non-electronics growing.

Electronic NORX declined by 19.8% due to ICs (-27.8%), consumer electronics (-19.7%), and parts of ICs (-25.6%). Non-electronic NORX, on the other hand, grew by 0.6% due to an increase in pharmaceuticals (+74.4%), non-electric engines & motors (+13.8%), and aircraft parts (+25.7%).

Despite the overall decline on a y-o-y basis, on a m-o-m SA basis, NORX saw a growth of 1.4% in May 2023, reaching S$27.4 billion, higher than the S$27.0 billion in the previous month.

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