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Singapore Exports See Surprise Drop

Singapore Exports See Surprise DropSingapore Exports See Surprise Drop

Exports from Singapore last month stumbled after four months of growth, as the upswing in the tech cycle—which had lasted far longer than expected—turned abruptly south. Non-oil domestic exports fell 1.1% last month over September last year, wrong footing economists, who had forecast a rise of 12.7.

This was the worst performance since December last year, and a sharp reversal from the revised 16.7% export growth in August%, CNA reported.

With the latest wave of smartphones now launched, semiconductor foundries have seen order books thin out, and Singapore’s electronics boom has finally fizzled out after 10 straight months of expansion.

But while electronics exports have underwhelmed, declining by 7.9% last month from a year earlier after a stellar 20.8% expansion in August, shipments of non-electronics goods continued to grow.

Non-electronics exports rose by 1.9% last month against growth of 15% in August, partly due to the volatile pharmaceutical segment, showed data from International Enterprise Singapore.

The trade agency said that the September slump “reflected the decrease in electronics exports off the high base a year ago”.

However, United Overseas Bank economist Francis Tan pointed out that in September last year, electronics exports had already fallen year on year.

Economists were divided as to whether this result indicated the start of a slowdown or was a blip, although they are not changing their growth projections based on Tuesday’s data.

For UOB’s Tan, last month’s export dip could be the “start of a more sustained slowdown”. Even so, “we remain positive in our outlook on the overall non-oil domestic exports expansion for 2017”, he said.

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