Singapore’s Jan petrochemical exports rise by 10.1%; NODX up 12.8%

Author: Nurluqman Suratman

2021/02/17

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's petrochemical exports rose by 10.1% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.14bn in January, supporting the growth in overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX), official data showed on Wednesday.

The country’s NODX rose by 12.8% year on year to S$15.1bn in January, accelerating from the 6.8% expansion in December 2020, Enterprise Singapore data showed.

NODX to the top markets as a whole grew in January, although exports to the EU, the US and Japan declined.

Non-electronic NODX, which includes petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, rose by 12.5% year on year to S$11.7bn in January.

Singapore’s overall merchandise trade is expected to grow between 2% and 4% for the whole of 2021, up from an earlier forecast of 1% to 3% growth made in November, amid expectations of higher oil prices, Enterprise Singapore said earlier on 15 February.

However, the forecast for Singapore’s NODX was maintained at between 0-2% expansion amid uncertainties in the global economy, it said.

Singapore’s economy contracted by 5.4% in 2020, the worst recession since its independence, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government projects the economy to expand by 4.0% to 6.0% in 2021, but the recovery is expected to be uneven.

Similar to the growth momentum seen in the fourth quarter of 2020, Singapore’s manufacturing sector “will likely stay supported on the back of a better external environment”, said Barnabas Gan, an economist at UOB Global Markets & Research.

“Similar to the growth momentum seen in Q4 ’20, Singapore’s manufacturing sector will likely stay supported on the back of a better external environment,” Gan said.

Singapore on 16 February announced that its overall budget balance is projected to see a smaller deficit of S$11bn this year, compared with the deficit of S$64.9bn last year.

Around S$4.8bn of the budget for this year will go towards public health and safe reopening measures, including vaccination.

New revenue drivers were also introduced in the budget announcement.

These include plans to extend the Goods & Service Tax (GST) to imported low-value goods with effect from 1 January 2023. Furthermore, petrol duties will be raised with immediate effect.

Focus article and interactive by Nurluqman Suratman