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Singapore's manufacturing output declined, economy grew

Staff writer |
Singapore's manufacturing output declined 8.7 percent year-on-year in April, said the Economic Development Board (EDB).

According to data released by EDB, output, excluding biomedical manufacturing, fell by 1.9 percent on a year-on-year basis. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output decreased 5.8 percent. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 2.2 percent month-on-month.

The decline means that factory activity has contracted for three consecutive months, having fallen 5.5 percent in March and 3. 6 percent in February, said the Strait Times.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster's output declined 28.6 percent in April year-on-year, with pharmaceuticals output falling 38 percent due to lower production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products. On the contrary, the medical technology segment expanded 28.1 percent due to robust demand for medical devices and supplies.

Output of the general manufacturing industries cluster contracted 5.1 percent last month on a year-on-year basis. While the food, beverages and tobacco segment increased 9 percent because of higher production of soft drinks and milk products, which was offset by the miscellaneous industries segment whose output declined 14.5 percent.

Electronics cluster output grew 1.2 percent year-on-year in April. The growth was supported by higher export demand in the other electronics modules and components, data storage and computer peripherals segments.

Output of precision engineering cluster contracted 2.1 percent year-on-year, with machinery and systems segment as well as precision modules and components segment declining.

Output of transport engineering cluster also declined 8.7 percent year-on-year, with the marine and offshore engineering segment falling by 10.5 percent on the back of lower levels of rig building activities.

Singapore economy grew by 2.6 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2015, faster than the 2.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a news release Tuesday.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualized basis, Singapore economy expanded by 3.2 percent, moderating from the 4.9 percent growth in the previous quarter.

MTI also announced that the GDP growth forecast for this year is maintained at 2.0 to 4.0 percent.

Primarily due to the decline in the output of the transport engineering, electronics and biomedical manufacturing clusters, the manufacturing sector contracted by 2.7 percent year-on-year, extending the 1.3 percent decline in the previous quarter.

In contrast, finance and insurance sector expanded by 7.9 percent year-on-year, following the 10.3 percent growth in the previous quarter. The increase was largely underpinned by the banking cluster, which experienced resilient loans growth and higher net interest margins.

Growth in the construction sector improved to 3.1 percent year- on-year from 0.7 percent in the previous quarter, supported by a pick-up in private sector construction activities.

The wholesale and retail trade sector grew by 4.1 percent on a year-on-year basis, faster than the 0.6 percent growth in the last quarter.

The transportation and storage sector rebounded to post growth of 1.5 percent year-on-year, compared to the 0.4 percent decline in the previous quarter, mainly supported by the water transport segment.

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