UpdateSingapore petrochemical exports up 3%; non-oil cargoes down

17 November 2011 04:00  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds analysts’ comments, recasts throughout)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore’s petrochemical exports grew by 3.0% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.07bn ($829.5m) in October this year, as overall non-oil exports slumped, official data showed on Thursday.

Overall exports of chemicals and chemical products including medicines rose by 5.5% to $4.07bn in October while shipments of pharmaceuticals grew by 7.8% year on year to S$1.9bn, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore said in its monthly report.

The city-state’s total non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell 16.2% year on year to S$14.1bn in October, the sharpest drop in 30 months, on the back of falling global demand for its electronics, according to data from IE Singapore.

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, the city-state’s NODX fell 5.9% year on year, it said.

Singapore’s overall non-electronic NODX, which include pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, fell 6.7% year on year to S$9.61bn in October, the data showed.

“The declined in non-electronic NODX was led by ships & boats, specialised machinery and electrical machinery,” IE Singapore said.

The country’s exports of electronics fell by 31.2% to $4.47bn year on year in October, after dropping 13.6% in September, according to IE Singapore.

“The fact that the drop in electronics occurs ahead of the festive season has further highlighted the weakness in global demand,” said Singapore-based DBS Group Research on Thursday.

However, recent electronics and overall manufacturing purchasing manager indexes (PMIs) have shown some “modest improvement” and could result in a gradual bottoming out in electronics exports as destocking pressure eases, it said.

“Nonetheless, it is undeniably true also that the overall growth outlook remains plagued with uncertainties,” DBS Group Research added.

On a year-on-year basis, NODX to all of the top 10 markets, except China and Indonesia, decreased in October this year, according to IE Singapore.

Domestic exports to the US slumped by 51% year on year in October, while shipments to the EU fell by 31%, it said.

NODX to emerging markets rose by 38% year on year in October, following the 13% contraction in the previous month, it said.

The hike in Singapore’s NODX to the emerging markets was mainly because of the increased shipments to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

“The negative impact of the eurozone debt crisis will continue to pose a threat while fire at the Shell refinery may be manifested in the headline number,” DBS Group Research said without elaborating further.

“Indeed, risk of GDP shrinking in the fourth quarter cannot be discounted,” it said.

Singapore-based UOB Economic-Treasury Research added: “If NODX continues on this trajectory, we might have to lower our 2011 full year GDP forecast of 4.8%.”

For the July-September period of this year, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) projects the city-state’s GDP growth to be around 5.9%.

GDP growth is expected to be around 5% for the year as a whole, according to the MTI.

While the sharper than expected contraction in NODX was in part due to a high base, the “continued and deeper weakness in electronic exports looks worrying”, the UOB Economic-Treasury Research said.

($1 = S$1.29)

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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