Singapore's Dec exports post worst fall in 2 years
* December exports -8.5 pct y/y, -5.7 pct m/m, below f'casts
* Pharmaceutical exports -26.8 pct y/y
* Electronic exports -11.2 pct y/y
* Full-year 2018 GDP may be revised downwards - ING
(Adds milestone, analyst comments)
By Fathin Ungku
SINGAPORE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Singapore's exports recorded
their worst decline in more than two years in December as
shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals plunged, official
data showed on Thursday.
The unexpected decline comes despite ongoing trade talks
between the United States and China to defuse trade tensions.
Many economists expect the dispute to hurt trade-dependent
Singapore in months to come.
Non-oil domestic exports in December fell 8.5 percent from a
year earlier, data from the trade agency Enterprise Singapore
showed, slowing further from a revised 2.8 percent decline the
The outcome was well below a 1.5 percent increase predicted
by economists in a Reuters poll and the worst performance since
October 2016, when exports declined 14 percent year-on-year.
"This could show that U.S.-China trade talks have become a
ruse, falling in line with disappointing China trade data,"
Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC,
told Reuters. "There is a likelihood that (export fall) will
continue into the first quarter."
Earlier this week, China announced that its December exports
unexpectedly fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier, the biggest
monthly drop in two years, pointing to further weakening in the
world's second-largest economy.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, the
city-state's exports contracted 5.7 percent in December after
declining a revised 4.3 percent in November. The poll forecast a
2.1 percent expansion from the month before.
Electronic exports in December fell 11.2 percent from a year
earlier, after a brief recovery in November when it rose 4.3
Pharmaceutical exports plunged 26.8 percent in December
year-on-year after rising 7.3 percent the month before.
Earlier this month, Singapore announced that its economy
grew more slowly than forecast in the fourth quarter after the
manufacturing sector shrank, adding to jitters that the
Sino-U.S. trade dispute will drag on growth in 2019.
ING said in a report it was difficult to pin the export
decline on any single geopolitical factor such as the trade war
as exports to both China and the United States had held up. But
shipments across Asia were noticeably in the red and the trade
data almost certainly means a downward revision to GDP, it
December exports to China and the United States grew 15.4
percent and 31.1 percent year-on-year, respectively.
(Reporting by Fathin Ungku;
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
First Published: 2019-01-17 02:30:00
Updated 2019-01-17 04:01:38
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