World Economy

Singapore Exports Fall Most in Three Years 

Singapore Exports Fall Most in Three Years Singapore Exports Fall Most in Three Years 

Singapore exports tumbled at their fastest pace in three years in March on falling shipments to Europe and China, official data showed Monday, supporting forecasts for slower economic growth and further monetary easing this year.

Non-oil domestic exports shrank 15.6% year-on-year for the month, trade promotion body International Enterprise Singapore said, worse than the 12.3% fall analysts had projected, AFP reported.

It was also the trade-reliant city-state’s worst export performance since a 30.6% year-on-year decline in February 2013, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said.

“Singapore exports remain entrenched in a rut, raising the odds of downside risks to the local economy’s growth,” Australia and New Zealand Bank Research said in a note.

“If the current trend persists, it could increase the possibility of a central bank easing at their next policy review in October.” The Monetary Authority of Singapore last Thursday announced a surprise easing of monetary policy to kick-start the stuttering economy by boosting exports as analysts warned of a possible recession.

In a statement, IE Singapore said electronics exports, such as semiconductors, shrank 9.1% in March, compared to a 0.7% expansion in February.

Non-electronics shipments, including pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, declined 18%, reversing the previous month’s 2.6% growth.

There was a notable dip in demand from the European Union and China, both major markets for Singapore.

Exports to the EU plunged 39.1% from 16.1% growth in February while shipments to China dropped 14%, accelerating from a 1.2% decline.

Exports to the US fell at a slower 6.2% from 4.2% growth in February.

UOB said exports “will likely remain weak” in the first half but should improve in the second half to end the year on a slightly positive note.

“However, there could be downside risks to our forecast should the uncertainties in China’s growth and oil prices perpetuate,” it said.

The government projects economic growth at 1-3% this year, but private sector economists expect it to come in at the lower end of the range. The economy grew 2% last year.