Singaporean exports’ slump continues for a fifth month

Bloomberg

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 15

Singapore’s exports last month extended the longest run of declines since the global financial crisis, suggesting economic growth last quarter may have been less than the government initially estimated.

Non-oil domestic exports slid 8.8 percent from a year earlier, falling for a fifth month, the trade promotion agency said in a statement yesterday. The median of 17 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 5.8 percent drop.

While Singapore’s economy grew at the fastest pace in more than two years last quarter as services strengthened and manufacturing rebounded, improvements have not been matched in shipments to the US or Europe.

Demand from the US, Europe and Japan stands out for its “weakness and that is still a cause for concern,” said Alvin Liew, a senior economist at United Overseas Bank Ltd in Singapore. “The recovery process for exports, especially for electronics, could be delayed.”

Singapore’s GDP rose an annualized 15.2 percent in the three months through last month from the previous quarter, when it grew 1.8 percent, the Trade Ministry said on Friday last week. The figures were computed largely from data in the first two months of the quarter, and revisions will be released next month.

Shipments of electronics fell 12.4 percent last month from a year earlier, extending the slump to an 11th month, the government’s report showed.

“The weak growth coming from the advanced economies, the weak demand, is having a much bigger effect than we had anticipated,” Asian Development Bank assistant chief economist Joe Zveglich told Bloomberg Television in an interview in Tokyo.

Singapore’s exports to the US fell for a second month last month, declining 15.9 percent, while shipments to the EU tumbled 33.6 percent. Its non-electronics shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, fell 7.1 percent last month from a year ago. Petrochemical exports climbed 5.7 percent, while pharmaceutical shipments dropped 35.4 percent.

The government forecasts exports will rise 2 to 4 percent this year.