Singapore’s exports unexpectedly drop on electronics, drugs

Shamim Adam
17 Dec 07

Singapore’s exports unexpectedly dropped for the first time in six months in November as shipments by electronics companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers slumped.

Non-oil domestic exports sank 3.4 percent from a year earlier following a revised 6.5 percent gain in October, the government’s trade promotion agency said in a report today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 12 economists was for a 4.5 percent increase.

Singapore’s electronic shipments have declined each month since February as a global inventory glut caused prices for memory chips and microprocessors to fall. The island’s industrial output and exports fluctuate from month to month because of swings in production by drug companies that shut plants for cleaning before making different pharmaceuticals.

“We don’t see a lot of impetus for an early recovery in electronics, especially given the uncertainty over the outlook for the global economy,” said Ho Woei Chen, an analyst at United Overseas Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “The volatility in exports and production in the pharmaceutical sector remains.”

Exports dropped a seasonally adjusted 6 percent last month from October, when they fell a revised 0.5 percent, today’s report said. Economists expected a 1.8 percent gain.

Electronics exports slid 8.2 percent in November from a year earlier following a revised 7.6 percent fall in October. Sales of electronics products were worth S$6 billion ($4.1 billion) last month compared with S$6.6 billion in October.

Lower Projections

Semiconductor equipment manufacturers are reducing their revenue projections for next year as U.S. and global growth slow.

The island’s semiconductor shipments declined 18.5 percent from a year earlier after sliding a revised 18.7 percent in October. Disk-drive exports dropped 7.4 percent in November.

Singapore’s pharmaceutical shipments slid 21.5 percent last month, after climbing 15.1 percent in October. Drug shipments were valued at S$1.84 billion in November, compared with S$1.83 billion the month before.

Sales to the European Union, Singapore’s biggest overseas market, slid 31.5 percent in November after a 7.5 percent decline the month before, today’s report showed.

Shipments to the U.S., its second-biggest market, rose 0.5 percent after easing 1.7 percent in October. Exports to China gained 0.6 percent after climbing a revised 10.6 percent in October

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