S’pore’s production falls for 5th month amid global slump

March 26, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Bloomberg

Singapore’s industrial production fell for a fifth straight month in February, the longest slump in eight years, as shrinking global demand for electronics and pharmaceuticals forced manufacturers to cut output.

Manufacturing, which accounts for about a quarter of Singapore’s economy, dropped 22.4 percent from a year earlier, following a revised 29.8 percent decline in January, the Economic Development Board said today. The median estimate of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 23 percent fall.

Singapore is in the sharpest and deepest recession in its history, and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew predicts the economy may contract as much as 10 percent this year if exports continue to plunge. Overseas shipments have dropped for 10 consecutive months, leading to the island’s biggest drop in cargo-box traffic in at least 11 years in February.

“Manufacturing weakness across both the electronics and non-electronics sectors” is widespread, said Selena Ling, head of treasury research at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. “The global economy remains in a slump.”

The global economy may shrink this year for the first time since World War II, with trade dropping by the most since the Great Depression, the World Bank said this month. Economists surveyed by Singapore’s central bank expect the island’s manufacturing output to contract 10.3 percent this year.

Singapore’s industrial production fell a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent in February from the previous month, today’s report showed.

Electronics production plunged 37.3 percent from a year earlier last month, following a revised 43.4 percent decline in January. Electronics make up about 26 percent of total manufacturing output.

Pharmaceutical production, which accounts for about 20 percent of Singapore’s manufacturing, fell 29.4 percent.

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