Singapore May container traffic rises

The numbers show this year’s shrinking trade at the world’s busiest container port may have stabilised. Most containers passing through Singapore’s port are transshipments between East and West, and so are a barometer of world trade.

The figures reinforce government data on Wednesday that showed Singapore’s May non-oil exports rose a bigger-than-expected 5.6 percent from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis, but fell 12.1 percent from a year ago .

“Evidence of a fledgling recovery in Singapore exports and industry is growing,” said HSBC economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde after the exports data. “We remain optimistic that Singapore GDP will have grown on a quarter-on-quarter basis in the second quarter.”

The fall in May port trade from a year ago was still the steepest fall this year, after a 17.7 percent fall in April from a year ago.

The Maritime Port Authority is responsible for Singapore’s maritime affairs and overall port operations.

State-owned PSA International, which operates as a commercial company and runs ports around the world, also said container volumes at its Singapore port have fallen 18 percent in the year to May, versus the same period a year ago.

The world trade downturn has battered shipping firms such as Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines and pushed export-dependent Singapore into its deepest ever economic contraction in the first quarter.

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